There are many reasons to take guardianship over someone. They may be a minor with no one else to look after them. Perhaps they are an adult who has become incapacitated.
Gaining guardianship can be a complicated process. First off, you must know exactly what type of guardianship you are seeking. There are several different forms, and choosing the correct one can be difficult.
Here is a broad overview of the different types of guardianship in Iowa.
Guardianship of a Minor in Iowa
For any number of reasons, parents may be unavailable to care for their children. They could be facing incarceration. Perhaps they are seeking treatment for substance abuse issues, and they need someone else to care for the kids while they recover. Sometimes, economic concerns leave them temporarily unable to care for their kids.
If you choose to take this role, understand that the child’s parents still have legal authority over the children. Typically, guardianship of a minor is temporary. It ends according to a pre-determined timeline, or it can simply end when the parents want it to.
Guardianship of an Adult in Iowa
When it comes to caring for an adult in Iowa, the term “guardian” is reserved for someone who manages personal affairs. Guardians can choose where someone lives. They can also make decisions about the protected person’s healthcare. Essentially, guardians can make decisions that do not involve finances.
Conservatorship in Iowa
If you must manage someone’s finances, you become that person’s “conservator.” You can buy and sell property for the protected person, and you can make investments for them. If necessary, you can block them from making unwise financial decisions. You can even pay yourself as a full-time conservator when the job is big enough and the protected person can afford it.
Power of Attorney in Iowa
In Iowa, “power of attorney” is a broad term. In some ways, it provides more authority over the protected person. In other ways, it provides less.
An Iowa power of attorney generally has control over the protected person’s medical affairs. A power of attorney has more authority in this area than a guardian. Powers of attorney can consent to medical treatment such as surgery. They can also sign off on various treatments, including long-term care for the protected individual.
Financially, a power of attorney has less authority than a conservator. Powers of attorney can help the protected person make sound financial decisions, but they do not have total control of the person’s finances.
Adoption in Iowa
When people talk about guardianship, they often include adoption in the conversation. Legally, this is incorrect. Adoption is a completely different process with a very different outcome.
When you adopt someone, you are claiming legal parenthood over the child. You are their parent for life. To end adoption, you must formally renounce your parenthood. The only other way to lose your parental rights is when the state finds you unfit for parenthood and removes those rights. Otherwise, your rights stay permanent.
If you need help with guardianship, conservatorship, power of attorney, or adoption, our firm is here for you. For a free consultation, you can call us at (515) 200-7571 or contact us online.