Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Estate of Workman

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 12, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF LAVERNE E. WORKMAN, Deceased,
v.
GARY WORKMAN, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of LaVerne E. Workman, Defendant-Appellee, DENNIS WORKMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, CYNTHIA NOGGLE, RANDY NOGGLE, JASON WORKMAN, CHRISTINE THOMPSON, and JEFFREY WORKMAN, Defendants.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Muscatine County, Thomas G. Reidel, Judge.

         Dennis Workman appeals the revocation of his shares in his father's estate.

          Bruce E. Johnson of Cutler Law Firm, PC, West Des Moines, for appellant.

          Daniel P. Kresowik of Stanley, Lande & Hunter, PC, Davenport, for appellee.

          Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor, JJ.

          PER CURIAM.

         Dennis Workman challenged his parents' estate plans in several actions. See In re Estate of Workman, 903 N.W.2d 170, 172-75 (Iowa 2017) (affirming district court's denial of Dennis' motion to expand his undue-influence claim to include prior wills and codicils executed by his mother); Workman v. Iowa Dist. Ct., No. 17-1038, 2018 WL 3302361, at *4 (Iowa Ct. App. July 5, 2018) (sustaining challenge to issuance of bench warrant following revocation of Dennis' shares in a family trust); In re Estate of Workman, No. 16-0908, 2017 WL 706342, at *1 (Iowa Ct. App. Feb. 22, 2017) (affirming revocation of Dennis' shares in his mother's estate). This appeal raises the identical issues as the issues raised in No. 16-0908, except that they relate to the will of Dennis' father rather than his mother.

         The underlying facts are well documented in the prior opinions, and we find no reason to set forth a detailed account here. Suffice it to say that the 2001 will of Dennis' father LaVerne, like the will of his mother, contained the following "no- contest" provision:

If any beneficiary under this will in any manner, directly or indirectly, contests the validity of this instrument, or any disposition under this will, or any other trust created by me, by filing suit against my executor, the trustees under any trust, any share or interest given to such beneficiary under the provisions of this will is revoked and shall be disposed of in the same manner provided under this will as if that contesting beneficiary and all descendants of that beneficiary had predeceased me.

See Workman, 2017 WL 706342, at *1.

         After LaVerne's death, Dennis Workman filed a petition to set aside the 2001 will based on lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence on the part of Dennis' brother Gary. Dennis named his minor son as an interested party. Dennis later dismissed his claims without prejudice. Following the dismissal, Gary filed a motion to revoke Dennis' shares and interest, citing the no-contest provision of the will. The district court granted the motion after an evidentiary hearing. On appeal, Dennis argues the district court should not have enforced the "no-contest" provision because he acted with probable cause and in good faith in filing the will-contest action.

         I. Revocation of Dennis' Interest

         Our prior opinion in No.16-0908 contains a detailed discussion of the law governing no-contest provisions. See id. at *1-3. Of key import is the following sentence: "[O]ur common law holds [that no-contest] provisions 'will not be enforced against one who contests the will in good faith and for probable cause.'" Id. at *2 (emphasis omitted) (quoting In re Estate of Cocklin, 17 N.W.2d 129, 135 (Iowa 1945) and citing Geisinger v. Geisinger, 41 N.W.2d 86, 93 (Iowa 1950)). The good faith and probable cause standards overlap. Id. Accordingly, they will be examined together.

         We begin with the testator's intent and his conduct in furtherance of that intent. LaVerne, like his wife, included ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.