Skip to Main Content


$4 Million
Birth Injury
Confidential Birth Injury settlement.
View All
$3.23 Million
Daycare Child Injury
Damages awarded for a child injured at daycare.
View All
$3 Million
Car Accident
Highway collision settlement.
View All
$2.75 Million
Confidential medical malpractice settlement.
View All
$2.6 Million
Auto Accident
Confidential Birth Injury settlement.
View All
$3.23 Million
Daycare Child Injury
Damages awarded for a child injured at daycare.
View All
$3 Million
Car Accident
Highway collision settlement.
View All
Helping Iowans Protect their Families & Prepare for the Future

The thought of estate planning sends dread through many people. Unsurprisingly, 60% of Americans lack an estate plan or even a will, a number which hasn’t budged much over the decades. But an estate plan is an important tool for preparing for the future, and people of any age will benefit from creating one.

At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., we work closely with clients to understand their goals for the future, and we use our legal experience to craft individualized estate plans that meet their needs. When done properly, estate planning is a deliberative process which helps our clients identify who will inherit from them, as well as clarify what care they will need should they become incapacitated. Call our firm today to meet with one of our Iowa estate planning lawyers.

Give us a call at (319) 220-0416 or submit an online contact form to request a free, no-obligation consultation.

Success Stories: Client Testimonials

An Overview of Probate

Probate is a court-supervised process for administering an estate when a person dies. Virtually everyone owns some assets at death. They might also owe money to creditors. Probate is an orderly process for finding and collecting all estate assets, paying creditors, and then distributing the remaining assets to beneficiaries. When you die, your estate will go through probate.

Probate can be simple and quick or cumbersome and drawn out, depending on your estate. One reason to create an estate plan is to ensure probate is as smooth as possible when you are gone.

Elements of an Estate Plan

An estate plan typically includes the following pieces, which we can create in consultation with any client.

Last Will and Testament

A will serves as the foundation for many estate plans. You can name your personal representative and alternates, as well as guardians for minor children. You can also name beneficiaries to inherit your estate assets.


A trust is a great way to pass assets outside probate. This is a legal way to own property which involves the following people:

  • Grantor—the person who creates the trust.
  • Trustee—the person who manages the trust.
  • Beneficiary—the person who gains the benefit of the trust.

Because the trust owns assets—not you—they are not included in your probated estate.

There are many types of trusts, which our lawyers can explain in greater detail. A common trust is a living trust, which you create while alive, naming yourself as trustee. You can also name beneficiaries to inherit the asset when you die.

Other trusts offer tax advantages for clients, although these are irrevocable trusts which are hard to undo after creation.

Other non-probate assets

Not all assets go through probate. For example, you name beneficiaries to inherit life insurance or retirement accounts. We can also help create bank accounts that are payable on death to beneficiaries.

Advance Directives

Preparing for the future includes considering what you want in the event of incapacity. Dementia or serious illness can leave a person unable to care for themselves or pay bills. We work with clients to create the following:

  • Living Will
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney
  • Financial Power of Attorney

Business Succession Plan

If you own a family farm or other business, you should carefully plan who will take it over when you retire or die. Business succession planning paves the way for a smooth transition from one generation of leadership to the next. Without a plan, your business could falter.

Benefits of Estate Planning

An estate plan provides more than peace of mind. It can also reduce disagreements between family members when you are gone. For example, a comprehensive estate plan can leave no doubt about the medical care you want should you become incapacitated, which can reduce friction between your children.

Estate planning is also critical if you have blended families. Iowa law gives husbands and wives certain rights to a spouse’s estate, regardless of what’s included in a will. You can protect your children’s future more effectively by meeting with our firm before tying the knot.

When to Update an Estate Plan

Estate plans change as our lives change. What worked in your 30s might not be appropriate for when you reach 65 or 75 or when your life dramatically changes due to job loss or divorce. We recommend updating your estate plan whenever the following occurs:

  • You divorce
  • You marry
  • You are engaged to remarry (especially if you have children from a previous marriage or relationship)
  • You have a child or grandchild
  • Your spouse dies
  • Your personal representative or guardians no longer wish to serve
  • You move to Iowa from another state
  • At least 10 years have passed since you last reviewed your estate plan

Probate Representation

The legal team at Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., also assists clients with probate matters. You might be serving as a personal representative and have questions about whether to accept a creditor’s claim, or you don’t know what assets to liquidate to pay creditors.

We can also meet with disappointed heirs to discuss whether a will is valid. A will must meet certain requirements, otherwise a probate judge should set it aside.

Our lawyers can also discuss whether the estate has a wrongful death lawsuit. If a loved one died due to someone else’s negligent or wrongful act, you might sue them for compensation. For example, we might sue a drunk driver for crashing into your loved one or a business for failing to provide adequate security.

Cedar Falls estate planning lawyer

FAQs about Iowa Estate Planning

Can I use a computer program to create a will or trust?

We don’t recommend it. A key part of estate planning is thinking through options. Who will be the best personal representative? Who should inherit your home or business? A computer program cannot provide advice tailored to your situation.

Can I disinherit a child?

Yes. Iowa does not require that you leave children any assets.

Do I need an estate plan if I’m only in my 30s?

Yes. For one thing, you could become incapacitated after an accident. Creating an estate plan includes a living will and medical power of attorney. Also, if you have young children, you can use your will to name guardians. It’s never too early to create a comprehensive estate plan.

Speak with an Iowa Estate Planning Lawyer

Creating an estate plan doesn’t have to be a hassle. Please contact Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., today to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.

Contact us today for a free consultation by filling out our contact form or calling (319) 220-0416.

"The teamwork at Ball, Kirk & Holm was very informative & in constant contact."
"Eashaan is a fighter! This law firm won`t disappoint!"
Read More Reviews
Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C.