In the Matter of the Estate of Gladys R. Troendle


IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF IOWA No. 19-2034 Filed July 21, 2021 IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF GLADYS R. TROENDLE, Deceased. STEVEN TROENDLE, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Appellee, vs. MICHELE TROENDLE, Individually and in her capacity as Co-Executor, Defendant-Appellee/Cross-Appellant. _________________________________ MICHELE TROENDLE, Plaintiff, vs. STEVEN TROENDLE, Defendant. ________________________________________________________________ Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Allamakee County, Alan Heavens, Judge. Steven Troendle appeals a civil jury verdict. Michele Troendle cross- appeals the damages awarded. AFFIRMED ON APPEAL; REVERSED AND REMANDED ON CROSS-APPEAL. Dennis G. Larson, Decorah, for appellant. Jeffrey R. Tronvold of Eells & Tronvold Law Offices, P.L.C., Cedar Rapids, for appellee. Considered by Mullins, P.J., and May and Schumacher, JJ. 2 MAY, Judge. Steven Troendle appeals a jury award in favor of his sister, Michele Troendle. Michele cross-appeals. We affirm as to Steven’s appeal. We reverse and remand as to damages only on Michele’s cross-appeal. I. Facts and Prior Proceedings Steven and Michele are the adopted children of Gladys and Richard Troendle. In 1964, Gladys and Richard executed a joint will. It devised and bequeathed all of their property “to the survivor” spouse or, if both “should die in a common disaster,” to Steven and Michele, “share and share alike.” Then in 1986, Richard died. That same year Gladys drafted a new will. It directed her estate to be divided between Steven and Michele, “share and share alike.” Eventually, Michele moved back on the family farm. Meanwhile, Steven lived in town with his family. Gladys’s health began to deteriorate. She had a stroke in 2002. After that, she required assistance from Michele to get around the home. Gladys began discussing possible changes to her will. She told Steven’s sons, who rented farmland from her, that she intended for Michele to inherit the family farm. Gladys’s health continued to deteriorate. Michele continued to provide her with day-to-day care. In 2015, Gladys met with an attorney and executed a new will. Unlike her prior will, Gladys’s 2015 will left her entire estate to Michele. And it stated: 3 I am deliberately omitting my son, Steven Troendle as a beneficiary . . . . I hold no ill will against my son Steven, but wish to leave my entire estate to my daughter Michele because she has a greater financial need for the inheritance and because she has cared for me for many years without any compensation through sickness and infirmity. Then on March 16, 2016, Gladys died. On April 29, Michele provided Steven with a copy of Gladys’s 2015 will. On May 2, Steven initiated probate proceedings using the 1964 will and was appointed executor. Michele became co- executor on July 11. Michele continued to live on the farm. However, because Steven and Michele served as co-executors, any maintenance or improvements to the property had to be agreed upon by both Michele and Steven. Several times the two could not come to agreement about how to address issues with the property. Steven contested the 2015 will, claiming Michele exerted undue influence on …

Original document

Add comment


Recent Posts

Recent Comments