Probate law is the legal process where a court appoints a legal representative of the estate to pay the bills and expenses of the decedent and distribute the remaining funds to the beneficiaries.

If the decedent left a will, the legal representative is called an executor. If there is no will, the legal representative is referred to as an administrator. The will directs who will receive distributions from the estate upon closing. If there is no will, the code of Iowa specifies who will receive the distributions from the estate. Iowa law requires that the creditors of the estate be given four months to file any claims against the estate.

In most cases, estates with no real estate can be settled in six months. Estates that involve real estate are settled soon after the real estate is sold or otherwise transferred.