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How does guardianship work and why is it sometimes necessary?

Your parents raised you to adulthood and may have given you sound advice and financial help after you went out into the world. Like many other Iowa residents with aging parents, you may find it difficult to see your loved ones age and become less independent. You may even worry about them being victimized in financial scams or unable to take care of their daily needs.

The law allows adult children or other responsible people to care for the financial, physical and medical needs of elderly or disabled people who are no longer able to care for themselves, as FindLaw explains. Perhaps your parents are suffering from age-related cognitive conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, or maybe your parent was suddenly incapacitated after a stroke or a car accident. Being appointed as a guardian gives you the ability to manage their finances and other important aspects of their lives. If you are appointed a guardianship, you may be responsible for such tasks as setting up doctors’ appointments, paying their bills, buying food and clothing and ensuring your loved ones’ hygiene needs are met.

Typically, guardianships are court-appointed. Adult children are not the only ones who can petition for a guardianship, as you should know. Other relatives, friends, a spouse or partner, a state or government agency or the elder himself or herself can request a guardianship be set in place.

Since the appointment of a guardianship can be a complex legal procedure, this information is meant only to inform you and should not replace the advice of a lawyer.

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Des Moines, IA 50309-1712

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