Blogs from October, 2023

Most Recent Posts from October, 2023

Signs a Loved One May Benefit from a Guardianship


As our loved ones grow older or face debilitating conditions, it may become increasingly evident that they are struggling to make critical decisions regarding their health, finances, or day-to-day living. In such instances, appointing a legal guardian to assist them could be beneficial. However, determining the right moment to initiate this emotionally charged legal process can be challenging.

Here are some signs that might indicate the need for guardianship:

  • Impaired Decision-Making Abilities: To establish guardianship, it's necessary to demonstrate incapacity. This could mean showing that your loved one struggles with decisions relating to assets, health, or personal safety. Certain medical conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, may also impair their ability to make sound choices.
  • Signs of Undue Influence: Unfortunately, there are instances where an elderly individual may fall under the sway of unscrupulous caretakers. If your loved one seems to be unduly influenced by a caregiver who gains access to funds or convinces them to alter their will in the caregiver's favor, it might be time to consider guardianship.
  • Conflicts Over Medical Care: Your loved one should ideally have the autonomy to make their own healthcare decisions. However, certain medical conditions can interfere with this ability. Pursuing guardianship might be necessary if they refuse essential care, such as medication intake, eating adequately, or transitioning to an assisted living facility.

Petitioning for guardianship of an elderly family member is never an easy decision. However, in some cases, protecting their health and financial interests is crucial. Consulting with a knowledgeable and empathetic guardianship lawyer can provide invaluable guidance during this challenging process. Remember, the goal is to safeguard your loved one's welfare when they can no longer do so themselves.

Understanding the Various Types of Guardianships

Guardianships are established for a variety of reasons, and the specific type of guardianship implemented can dictate the extent of authority the guardian possesses.

  • For instance, a “plenary guardian” is granted full authority to make all necessary decisions concerning the ward's (the individual under guardianship) well-being. This may include determining appropriate living arrangements, such as transitioning the ward to a nursing home or making critical life-or-death decisions.
  • On the other hand, a “limited guardian” is only vested with specific powers as outlined in the court's decree, restricting their decision-making capabilities. As an example, a court could authorize a limited guardian to decide solely on matters related to selling the ward's property, barring them from making any other decisions.

If you're contemplating seeking guardianship, it's crucial to discuss the current and anticipated needs of the incapacitated individual with a qualified guardianship lawyer. They can provide appropriate advice on the type of guardianship required and the extent to which the guardian's decision-making powers should be extended.

Appointing a Guardian in an Emergency Situation in Iowa

In Iowa, the process for appointing a guardian in an emergency situation is defined by law. According to section 232D.309 of the Iowa Code, a person authorized to file a petition under section 232D.301 may also file a petition for the emergency appointment of a temporary guardian.

The application for the emergency appointment must include specific information, such as the name and address of the individual for whom guardianship is sought. In cases where immediate harm to the minor or adult is likely, an emergency appointment of a guardian may be necessary.

Once appointed, the guardian is responsible for considering the protected person's wishes and handling their urgent needs first. This could include decisions about their living situation, meals, and other immediate needs.

The Office of Public Guardian may be appointed by the court as the guardian or conservator of last resort, depending on age and whether anyone else could serve as guardian. The court can appoint both a guardian and a conservator if it finds it appropriate, and the same person can serve in both roles.

In the case of minor guardianship, a Petition for Appointment of Guardian must be filed, whether the filing is for full, limited, temporary, or emergency guardianship. The petition should state the reason and the type of appointment sought.

It's important to note that these procedures are designed to protect the rights and well-being of the individuals involved. Therefore, legal advice should be sought when considering an emergency guardianship appointment.

Seeking Guidance on Guardianship? Contact The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw

Recognizing that a loved one may need assistance in their day-to-day decisions can be a difficult realization to come to terms with, which can make the process of determining whether your loved one needs a guardian emotionally taxing and complex.

However, you don't have to navigate this journey alone. At The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw, we understand the gravity of this decision and are committed to providing expert, empathetic guidance every step of the way. We can help you understand the scope of a guardian's powers and advise you on how to proceed legally, ensuring the best possible outcome for all concerned.

Don't wait until an unforeseen incident forces a hasty decision. Seek professional advice now to protect everyone's rights and interests. Call (515) 200-7571 today to get in touch with us to discuss your guardianship concerns, and let us guide you through this challenging process. Your peace of mind is our priority.