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 Rhoten

Court of Appeals of Iowa

March 6, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF JOHN R. RHOTEN, Deceased,
v.
ESTATE OF JOHN R. RHOTEN, CO-EXECUTORS JOHN E. RHOTEN, JULIE A. NELSON, JOAN K. BOND, and JAY R. RHOTEN, Defendants-Appellees. KATHRYN RHOTEN, Plaintiff-Appellant,

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Dallas County, Richard B. Clogg, Judge.

         A widow appeals the district court decision denying her challenge to the validity of a premarital agreement filed in the probate proceedings for her late husband.

          R. Bradley Skinner and Cameron K. Wright of Skinner Law Office, PC, Altoona, for appellant.

          Tyler Smith of Smith Law Firm, PLC, Altoona, for appellees.

          Heard by Potterfield, P.J., and Tabor and McDonald, JJ.

          McDonald, Judge.

         Kathryn Rhoten appeals the district court decision denying her challenge to the validity of a premarital agreement filed in the probate proceedings for her late husband, John Rhoten. We find Kathryn has not shown the premarital agreement is unenforceable on the ground John failed to disclose all of his assets and debts to her and further find the premarital agreement is not unconscionable. We affirm the district court.

         I. Background Facts & Proceedings

         John had a farm near Linden, in Dallas County. From his first marriage, John had five children, John E. Rhoten (John E.), Julie Nelson, Jeannie Rhoten, [1]Joanie Bond, and Jay Rhoten. John consistently told his children he wanted his farmland to go to them when he died.

         In 1992, John met Kathryn, who was living in Des Moines. Kathryn had two previous marriages, which had ended in divorce. She had a successful career in the insurance industry, working for several large companies and receiving promotions and advancements. In 1994, Kathryn moved to the farm to live with John. She worked out of an office in the home. John usually conducted his business dealings concerning the operation of the farm while sitting at the kitchen table, and Kathryn was present during some of John's business conversations.

         In November 1997, John and Kathryn became engaged. John discussed a premarital agreement with his attorney, Samuel Braland. Also, John and Kathryn had discussed a premarital agreement. On August 24, 1998, Braland sent a premarital agreement to John. The agreement stated a net worth statement was attached, but no statement was attached to the premarital agreement Braland sent to John. The premarital agreement provided:

In consideration of their marriage and this agreement, if John dies testate Kathryn hereby waives, relinquishes, releases and renounces the right of election to take against John's will provided under Section 633.238 Code of Iowa (1997) . . . . It is understood and agreed that Kathryn shall have and take only what is devised to her in John's Will, if anything, and she shall have no other right, title, interest or allowance in or from his testate estate.

         The agreement included a corresponding provision, stating John would acquire no right in Kathryn's testate estate.

         John and Kathryn set a wedding date for Saturday, November 28, 1998. In the evening on Monday, November 23, John asked his daughter Julie, who was a notary public, to come over to notarize a document. John signed the premarital agreement in Julie's presence, and she notarized it. John told Julie to take the premarital agreement to Kathryn for her signature. Julie, who was employed by Kathryn as an administrative assistant, gave the premarital agreement to Kathryn, who was in her home office. Kathryn had not previously seen the document, however, she stated she was not surprised to receive the premarital agreement. She read the document and signed it. She ...


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.