profile headshot of Katheryn J. Thorson


I am a member in the BrownWinick Law Firm and the Estate Planning and Fiduciary Litigation Practice Group Co-Chair. My practice primarily consists of estate planning, real estate and corporate matters.  In my estate planning practice, I advise individuals and couples from a variety of backgrounds and family situations in developing personalized estate plans to efficiently and effectively transfer their wealth.  I also have experience with assisting individual and corporate fiduciaries and beneficiaries with probate and trust administration and the issues that may develop along the way.  My real estate and corporate practice consists of general commercial real estate and business transactions.    

My Approach

Most of my clients initiate a new engagement with the thought that their estate plan, trust or estate administration or real estate or business transaction is relatively “standard”.  However, every family has different dynamics.  Each piece of land has distinctive features.  And each business has unique characteristics.   From first time parents doing their first estate plan to protect their new baby to helping a client navigate the first somber moments of life after losing a loved one, my goal is to navigate you through a personalized legal experience that you understand.  It is important to me that we take the time to discuss the documents you are executing and items you may not have considered, and I continue to be a resource long after the closing occurs or the documents are executed.  

More About Me

I was selected as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers® in the area of Estate and Probate and selection for inclusion in Best Lawyers® - Ones to Watch in the areas of Real Estate Law, Tax Law and Trusts and Estates. Our Estate Planning and Fiduciary Litigation Practice Group is ranked in Band 1, which is the highest ranking award for Chambers® USA rankings. 

I received my Juris Doctorate degree from Drake University in 2013.  The highlight of my legal education was representing the United States at the International Client Counseling Competition in Scotland after winning the 2013 Regional and National Client Counseling Competitions.  I graduated from Simpson College, cum laude, in 2010, receiving my Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics with a specialization in Finance.

I am a central Iowa native that was inspired to become an estate planning and trust attorney from listening to my parents' stories from being in the financial services industry.  It is my grandparents' family farm operation that cultivated my business and real estate interests. 

In addition to my legal practice, I am active in various community and legal organizations including the following: 

  • Past President of Prevent Child Abuse Iowa,
  • Board Member of the Norwalk Student Education Foundation,
  • Board Member of the Board of Adjustment for the City of Norwalk, and 
  • Board Member of The Ashcraft Library Project. 

My Specialties

Trusts, Estates and Charitable Giving

  • Estate Planning
  • Probate, Estate and Trust Administration
  • Estate and Gift Taxation
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Estate and Gift Taxation
  • Trust and Estate Litigation

Real Estate, Construction & Environmental

  • Acquisitions and Dispositions
  • Leasing and Property Management
  • 1031 Exchanges
  • Eminent Domain

Business Transactions

  • Business and Corporate Law
  • Mergers and Acquisitions

How Business Entities Held In Trusts are Treated Under the Corporate Transparency Act

05-1-2023 The Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) is a new law coming into effect January 1, 2024, that implements reporting requirements for limited liability companies (LLCs), corporations, and other business entities that have never had to report such information previously. BrownWinick attorney Brennan Block outlines the main components of the CTA in...
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What is the Purpose of a Trust?

12-6-2022 There are two main types of trusts—Revocable/Living Trusts, and Irrevocable Trusts. This article provides a very short overview of the different purposes of a trust and why you would set one up. Trusts can provide privacy, coordination of assets, asset protection from third-party creditors, gift and estate tax savings, protect beneficiaries from...
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Estate Planning During and After Divorce: What You Should Know

12-1-2022 If you are going through a divorce, there is probably a lot on your mind. One thing you may not be thinking about is your estate plan. If you name your spouse in your estate planning documents, you may want to consider making some changes. This article explains some key estate planning items to consider during and after your divorce. Estate...
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Do You Need to File a Gift Tax Return?

11-22-2022 The holidays are upon us and even though the holidays may mean more than packages, boxes, and bags, gifting during the holidays can put a twinkle in your eye and thaw your heart as the world slowly freezes over for the winter. But have your dreams of sugar plum fairies been interrupted by the unwelcome thought of gift taxes? No need to bah humbug...
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What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

09-14-2022 You may have heard that if you die without a will, your property will go to the state. For most cases, this is not accurate. Iowa has an intestacy statute which dictates where your assets will go if you die without a will. Here is a chart to explain where your property would go depending on the family members you leave behind: If you die with:...
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Powers of Attorney: What They Are and Why You Need Them

09-7-2022 Having a power of attorney is essential for the estate planning process. In Iowa, there are two types of powers of attorney available: medical power of attorney (also known as the health care power of attorney) and financial power of attorney (also known as the general power of attorney). Read on to learn more about the differences between these...
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IRS Issues Revised Revenue Procedure for Late Portability Elections

08-8-2022 On July 8, 2022, the IRS issued a revised Revenue Procedure, Rev. Proc. 2022-32, providing for a late portability election to qualifying estates. The new procedure extends the time period in which the simplified method to make a late portability election can be filed. Rev. Proc. 2022-32 allows the simplified method to be used on or before the...
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Estate Planning With Pets

08-4-2022 Who will care for your pet after you die? Can you appoint a guardian for your pet? Who will pay for your pet’s care? If you have a pet, these are questions you may have thought about. Fortunately, you can develop a plan for your pets in your estate plan. In Iowa, pets are treated as property under the law. This means that you cannot leave money...
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Will v. Trust: What's the Difference and Which One is Right for You?

07-6-2022 You have probably heard of wills and trusts in the estate planning context, but what is the difference between the two? Both a will and a trust are used to distribute your assets upon your death. Both allow you to name beneficiaries to receive your assets and a fiduciary to control the distribution of your assets. However, there are some key...
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Who Should I Name as Guardian for my Minor Children?

06-17-2022 Naming a legal guardian is often the most important estate planning decision for people with minor children. When you become a parent, it is a good idea to have a will in place so you can name a legal guardian for your children if anything were to happen to you. Here are seven things to consider when choosing who to name as your children’s...
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Katheryn Thorson Accepted into the Heart of America Fellows Institute of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

12-1-2023 Katheryn Thorson, a member at BrownWinick, and co-chair of the firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group, has been accepted into Class III of the Heart of America Fellows Institute of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). The Heart of America Fellows Institute was created by ACTEC Fellows to develop the profession’s future...
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BrownWinick Attorneys Named to 2024 Best Lawyers® List

08-17-2023 BrownWinick is pleased to announce that 33 lawyers have been included in the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. BrownWinick would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to the 2024 The Best Lawyers...
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2023 Great Plains Super Lawyers and Great Plains Rising Stars Feature BrownWinick Attorneys

06-1-2023 BrownWinick is excited to announce the following attorneys were selected for inclusion in the Great Plains Super Lawyers directory for 2023. The Great Plains Super Lawyers and Rising Stars listings include the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska.  Nine BrownWinick attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2023 Great Plains...
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BrownWinick Law Firm Attorneys Featured in 2021 Great Plains Super Lawyers and Great Plains Rising Stars

08-20-2021 BrownWinick is excited to announce the following attorneys were selected for inclusion in the Great Plains Super Lawyers directory for 2021. Seven BrownWinick attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2021 Great Plains Super Lawyers online listing: William Brown - Tax Michael Dee – Business Litigation Thomas Johnson – Business/Corporate James...
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BrownWinick Attorneys Featured in 2019 Great Plains Super Lawyers and Great Plains Rising Stars

07-11-2019 Eleven BrownWinick attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2019 Great Plains Super Lawyers online listing: William Brown – Tax Elizabeth Coonan – Employment and Labor Michael Dee – Business Litigation Alice Helle – Employee Benefits Thomas Johnson – Business/Corporate Ann Holden Kendell – Employment and Labor James Pray – Environmental Brian...
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Jessica Savage



Simpson College

B.A., cum laude, 2010


Drake University Law School

J.D., with high honors, 2013


Iowa, 2013


Memberships & Associations

  • Polk County Bar Association
  • Iowa State Bar Association
    Member; Probate, Trust & Estate Planning Section
  • Iowa Trust Association
  • Polk County Women Attorneys
  • Des Moines Estate Planners
  • Prevent Child Abuse Iowa
    Board Member
  • Norwalk Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Young Professionals Connection
  • Heart of America Fellows Institute of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel Class III Member