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Kurtz on Iowa Estates. Now in its third edition, this is probably the single best reference for Iowa Probate, available for $141.75 from Iowa Law School Continuing Legal Education. Unfortunately, it cannot be ordered on-line. To order, see the book promotion page and the print-out-and-mail-in order form.

McCarty Iowa Probate 3d. A more expensive ($380) and usually less useful four volume set, now published by the monopolists in St. Paul. West Group's online presence is rather dismal (the order mechanism wasn't working at all when we visited, and the search engine is disturbingly literal). You can probably negotiate a better price or terms if you're willing to put up with the annoyance of talking to one of their sales reps instead.

Farm Estate & Business Planning. Neil Harl's frequently updated volume is essential reading for Iowa estate planning. A surprising number of outdated copies are available for sale online at new book prices -- avoid them. At this writing the 14th edition, published September, 1999, is the most recent, available directly from Doane Agricultural Services Inc. (800 535-2342 ext. 20). They have a Web site, but seemingly no way to order directly from the site.

Marshall's Iowa Title Opinions and Standards Annotated, Second Edition. Probate often involves real estate, and this is the bible of Iowa real estate practice. It's available directly from Lexis Law Publishing, priced at $65, inclusive of the latest (1983) supplement.

God Bless You Mr. Rosewater. Kurt Vonnegut sees probate -- or at least estate planning -- in a light that probably never occurred to you.

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