What Can a Guardian Do?
Here are some of the legal duties and responsibilities of a guardian in Iowa:
- Make decisions regarding the care, comfort, and maintenance of the protected person
- Determine where the person will live
- Plan for healthcare services required by the protected person
- Ensure that the protected person receives professional care and necessary emergency medical services
- Ensure that the services provided meet the needs of the protected person
- Make informed decisions regarding the general wellbeing and healthcare needs of the protected person.
What Can't a Guardian Do?
As mentioned above, guardianship in Iowa only deals with non-financial decisions regarding the protected person. The court-appointed guardian cannot manage the person's property, assets, income, or other financial affairs. Only a conservator can handle such responsibilities. However, one person may be appointed as the guardian and conservator. This will require combining the guardianship and conservatorship cases into a single court action.
Types of Guardianships
There are two types of guardianships in Iowa — full guardianship and limited guardianship.
A full, plenary, or general guardianship gives the guardian almost total control over the responsibilities and decision-making power for the protected person. The court-appointed guardian will be the one to make all decisions regarding the protected person's personal care and needs.
In a limited guardianship, there is only a specific set of responsibilities designated to the guardian. The protected person will still retain as much freedom as possible regarding decisions about their personal needs.
Iowa Minor Guardianship Proceedings Act
The new Iowa Minor Guardianship Proceedings Act imposes more requirements on individuals filing a petition to become guardians of minor children. The law also offers additional protections for biological parents, potential guardians, and children. Here are some key provisions of the law:
- All proposed guardians must submit a thorough background check, including their criminal history.
- Biological parents who agree to guardianship must submit a formal agreement stating the responsibilities of both the guardian and the parents.
- The court will appoint a lawyer to represent parents who do not agree to guardianship.
- An attorney and court visitor may be appointed to represent the child.
- Court approval will be required for a guardian to deny all forms of visitation, communication, or interaction between the parents and their minor child.
- An initial care plan must be filed by the guardian within 60 days of being appointed by the court.
- The biological parents will cover the expenses associated with the guardianship proceedings.
- Biological parents are still allowed to file a petition to terminate guardianship.
Work with an Experienced Attorney
Unfortunately, a lot of American families are not aware of the vital roles guardianship plays in the lives of both minor children and incapacitated adults. Before you appoint a guardian or you start acting as one, it is important that you understand your role, responsibilities, and legal rights. Consulting with an experienced guardianship attorney is paramount for proper guidance and to navigate key decisions.
At Olberding Law Office, I have devoted my career to offering knowledgeable and comprehensive guidance in legal matters of guardianship and conservatorship. As your legal counsel, I can evaluate your unique circumstances, educate you about the guardianship process, and help you understand the legal options available to you. I can also explain your legal rights, duties, and responsibilities as a guardian and how to execute them. Using my extensive experience and legal understanding, I can guide you through the guardianship process and help you make informed decisions as a guardian.