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In re Trust Under Will of Daubendiek

Court of Appeals of Iowa

July 3, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF THE TRUST UNDER THE WILL OF W.H. DAUBENDIEK, BILLY JOE DAUBENDIEK, a/k/a BILLY JOE DAUBENDECK, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Palo Alto County, Donald E. Courtney, Judge.

         Billy Joe Daudendiek, a/k/a Billy Joe Daubendeck, appeals a ruling concluding he does not have an interest in a trust.

          Steven W. Hendricks of Kersten Brownlee Hendricks, PLLC, Fort Dodge, for appellant.

          James L. Kramer of Johnson, Kramer, Mulholland, Cochrane & Cochrane, P.L.C., Fort Dodge, for appellees.

          Heard by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and May, JJ.

          MAY, JUDGE.

         This case involves a dispute over who can benefit from a trust created by W.H. Daubendiek's will. Billy Joe Daudendiek, a/k/a Billy Joe Daubendeck, who is W.H.'s great-grandson by adoption, claims an interest in the trust. The trustees contest Billy Joe's claim. The district court granted summary judgment in their favor. For the following reasons, we affirm.

         I. Facts and Prior Proceedings

         In 1942, W.H. Daubendiek executed a will. The will created a trust benefitting some of W.H.'s descendants. The will named nine beneficiaries for the trust, including W.H.'s "beloved grandson, Joe." The will also provided that, "in the event of" a named beneficiary's death, his or her interest would pass to his or her "lawful bodily issue." The will stated in relevant part:

The beneficial interest shall be apportioned as follows: to my beloved wife, Matilda E. Daubendiek, or in the event of her death, to her lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, fifteen per centum (15%); to my beloved son, C. H. Daubendiek, or in the event of his death, to his lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, twenty five per centum (25%); to my beloved daughter, Letha I. Leonard, or in the event of her death, to her lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, twenty five per centum (25%); to my beloved granddaughter, Ruth Daubendiek, or in the event of her death, to her lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum (5%); to my beloved grandson, Joe R. Daubendiek, [1] or in the event of his death, to his lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum (5%); to my beloved grandson, Robert W. Daubendiek, or in the event of his death, to his lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum, (5%); to my beloved granddaughter, Bertha A. Daubendiek, or in the event of her death, to her lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum (5%); to my beloved grandson, William C. Daubendiek, or in the event of his death, to his lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum (5%); to my beloved grandson, Gene E. Daubendiek, or in the event of his death, to his lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum (5%); to my beloved nephew, F. W. Daubendiek, or in the event of his death, to his lawful bodily issue, per stirpes, five per centum (5%).
In the event of the death of any of said beneficiaries without leaving lawful bodily issue, then the share and interest of such beneficiary shall be apportioned among the other beneficiaries in the same ratio.

         (Emphasis added.)

         W.H. died in 1948. In 1956, Joe adopted a child. Joe named the child Billy Joe.

         Joe died in 2016. In 2017, Billy Joe filed the present action. Billy Joe asked the district court to "to confirm that Billy Joe" and his "descendants are the lawfully bodily issue ...


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