UPDATES & ANALYSIS

6.21

Trust Beneficiaries Give Away Land, Can’t Get It Back

by Ryan Koopmans | June 21, 2013

By Ryan Koopmans

Today, the Iowa Supreme Court affirmed its longstanding enforcement of Iowa’s marketable title acts and the ten-year statute of limitations for claims involving interests in real estate.

The case,  In re Hord, involves a testamentary trust created in 1992, and comprised solely of Iowa farmland. In 1993, the remainder beneficiaries – in violation of the trust’s spendthrift clause – assigned their interests in the trust to the lifetime beneficiary, their aunt, and also quit claimed their interests in the farmland to the aunt. When the aunt died in 2009, she left the farmland not to her nieces and nephews but to a longtime family friend, who also happened to be trustee of the trust.

The former beneficiaries sued, arguing their deeds and assignments were void due to the spendthrift clause, and also that the trustee breached the fiduciary duties he owed them under the trust. The Court held all of the beneficiaries’ claims were barred by the ten-year statute of limitations on claims involving real estate under Iowa Code Section 614.17A.

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