Attorney Lance Ehmcke - Judge Edward Jacobson Decides in Favor of a Tenant Farmer
February 22, 2018
Judge Edward Jacobson Decides in Favor of a Tenant Farmer
Attorney Lance Ehmcke states, “The Baker vs. Nepper case reinforces the argument for writing down all potential business dealings even between family members.” Mr. Baker was the farm tenant on his parents’ acreage. With a handshake and nod Mr. Baker proceeded to build a climate-controlled machine shed on the acreage with his own money. Unfortunately, once his parents passed away the question of who owned the machine shed had to be determined. Other family members contended that it was a fixture of the acreage therefore part of the estate, so when the acreage was sold, all the money should be paid to the Estate and split among the heirs. Mr. Baker contended that the machine shed was his and if the acreage was sold the value of the machine shed should be paid only to him. Judge Jacobson ruled in favor of Mr. Baker. This case was appealed to the Iowa Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals agreed with Judge Jacobson’s decision.
The dispute could have been avoided if Mr. Baker and his parents made a severance agreement about the machine shed when the Baker parents gave him permission to build it at his own expense.
Iowa Court of Appeals Decision: September 13, 2017.