Blogs from July, 2021

Most Recent Posts from July, 2021

What's the Difference Between a Conservator & a Guardian in IA?


With the Britney Spears case top of mind because of the media coverage of her situation, a larger conversation about conservatorships and guardianships has been opened. How much autonomy is appropriate to relinquish to another human being, and for how long? How does one become free from this relinquishing of autonomy? These are the questions being asked after the #FreeBritney movement.

Changes in Guardianship and Conservatorship in Iowa

There have been changes to how guardianships and conservatorships are opened and administered in Iowa. The state legislature passed sweeping changes to the laws just last year. Guardianships can be created for either minor or adult persons. A legal relationship can be established to help protect persons. Guardians can make decisions for protected persons for their living arrangements, medical care, and other legal or important matters. Conservatorships are like guardianships, but they are specifically providing control over the financial concerns of a protected person. The changes made to Iowa law have been put safeguards into place to protect the interest of protected people by requiring background checks and professional evaluations for proposed guardians and conservators. There were also annual reporting requirements placed to protect vulnerable people.

Conservators and guardians were also given access to court-ordered power to:

· Complete transactions at financial institutions

· Sale of real estate or personal property

· Pay routine expenses

· File income tax returns

By giving guardians additional enumerated powers, the goal is to provide greater care and comfort to a protected person. It's meant to provide additional layers of assistance, like health care issues, educational training, or basic protections of their personal property. The goals of these laws are to provide more protections and targeted assistance for protected people.

Choosing the Right Legal Solution

Accidents and unfortunate things happen, and those events can derail the course of a person's life. Minors, disabled people, and senior citizens can all at some point in their lives need a legal guardianship or conservatorship established for their care. The court can establish guardianship for a protected person to provide for their safety and attend to their daily needs. A guardianship can be established involuntarily or with the approval of the protected person. The scope of guardianship will vary based on the needs of your situation.

Start the conversation by establishing your goals and answering pointed questions, like:

  • What do you see as the role of a guardian?
  • What things do you want the guardian to do and not do?
  • Does your protected person have access to shelter?
  • Is your protected person capable of making medical choices?
  • Does your protected person have the capacity to make legal determinations?

A guardianship can be temporary or put in place to cover an emergency. A family law attorney can help you ensure you pick the right legal solution for your situation. They will review your needs by reviewing the details of your specific case.

The Law Office of Mark R. Hinshaw

The Des Moines family lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw can help you establish a guardianship or conservatorship. Conservatorships and guardianships and serious legal positions. These cases can become very complicated with complex ideas, so it's important to have a clear and unobstructed understanding of what these legal situations mean and the difference between the two.Whether the protected person in your care simply needs help managing their financial choices, making healthcare choices, or attending to their daily need, we can help you craft the right legal tool for your situation.

Call us today at (515) 200-7571 to schedule a consultation or use our online contact form to request more information.