Jefferson County Online
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Wills and Estates of Deceased Persons

The following is a chapter from "The History of Jefferson County, Iowa", Pages 294-295, published by the Western Historical Company of Chicago in 1879.



No exact form of words are necessary in order to make a will good at law. Every male person of the age of twenty-one years, and every female of the age of eighteen years, of sound mind and memory, can make a valid will; it must be in writing, signed by the testator, or by some one in his or her presence, and by his or her express direction, and attested by two or more competent witnesses. Care should be taken that the witnesses are not interested in the will. Inventory to be made by executor or administrator within fifteen days from date of letters testamentary or of administration. Executors' and administrators' compensation on amount of personal estate distributed, and for proceeds of sale of real estate, five per cent. for first one thousand dollars, two and one-half per cent. on overplus up to five thousand dollars, and one per cent. on overplus above five thousand dollars, with such additional allowance as shall be reasonable for extra services.

Within ten days after the receipt of letters of administration, the executor or administrator shall give such notice of appointment as the court of clerk shall direct.

Claims (other than preferred) must be file within one year thereafter, are forever barred, unless the claim is pending in the District or Supreme Court, or unless peculiar circumstances entitle the claimaint to equitable relief.

Claims are classed and payable in the following order:
1. Expenses of administration.
2. Expenses of last sickness and funeral.
3. Allowance to widow and children, if made by the court.
4. Debts preferred under laws of the United States.
5. Public rates and taxes.
6. Claims filed within six months after the first publication of the notice given by the executors of their appointment.
7. All other debts.
8. Legacies.
The award, or property which must be set apart to the widow, in her own right, by the executor, includes all personal property which, in the hands of the deceased, as head of a family, would have been exempt from execution.

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