IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF JEAN PEAK HADSALL, Deceased. JOHN D. HADSALL, Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Warren County, Jeffrey D.
Hadsall appeals the probate court's judgment ordering him
to return $383, 595.63 to his mother's estate.
Anthony Zane Blessum and Susan R. Stockdale, Winterset, for
Nicholas A. Carda and Ryan Ellis of Ellis Law Offices, P.C.,
Indianola, for appellee.
by Doyle, P.J., and Mullins and McDonald, JJ.
John Hadsall, son of decedent Jean Hadsall, appeals the
probate court's judgment ordering him to return $383,
595.63 to his mother's estate. The court determined John
had a confidential relationship with Jean and transferred
essentially all of her assets into accounts owned by him,
contrary to Jean's wishes. Because John failed to
establish he acted in good faith while making the transfers
or that Jean acted freely, intelligently, and voluntarily in
gifting him money from her accounts, the court ordered John
to return money to the estate. Upon our review, we affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings.
1990, as part of their estate plans, Jean and Robert Hadsall
established the revocable "Robert C. Hadsall and/or Jean
A. Hadsall Trust." Jean and Robert transferred their
farmland into the trust. Upon the death of the surviving
spouse, the trust provided that any trust property
"shall be equally divided" between their four
children, per stirpes. In accordance with the trust, Jean
also executed a last will and testament bequeathing any
property not held by the trust to the trust upon her
death. Both instruments identified Jean and
Robert's four children, including their sons John and
Hadsall passed away in December 2007. In January 2008, John,
an attorney licensed to practice law in Florida, drafted for
Jean a document titled "Voluntary Appointment of Durable
Power of Attorney/Healthcare Surrogate." Jean designated
John as her power of attorney, and she executed the document
before a notary. John thereafter regularly assisted Jean with
her financial affairs.
subsequently sold the farm in two parcels; the first in
January 2008 and the second in February 2008. The farm
machinery was sold in June 2008. The funds she received from
those sales were not deposited in accounts owned by the
trust. Neither were other monies Jean received, such as life
insurance proceeds relating to Robert's death. Rather,
the funds were deposited into mostly new accounts in
Jean's name, wherein John was generally named as a joint
point, John's siblings questioned what was happening with
Jean's assets. In 2010 and 2013, John wrote letters to
his siblings on Jean's behalf to advise them of
Jean's "wishes and to stop wrongful and false
accusations." John's 2010 letter, addressed to his
three siblings, stated:
With this year's gift, Mom has given us all $40, 000 in
the past 4 years for a total of $160, 000 out of her's
and Dad's estate, the remainder in certificates of
deposit in hers and our names to be given upon her death to
her surviving children with a further distribution after
payment of her bills and taxes from the sale of the farm;
please join me in hoping her good health remains for many,
2013 correspondence-"An Open Letter to [Each of My
Siblings] from ...