Saturday, March 12, 2016
Alexis Rowe (Drake University School of Law) recently published an article entitled, Overseeing durable power of attorney in Iowa: discouraging abuse, honoring principals, 63 Drake L. Rev. 1201-1228 (2015). Provided below is an abstract of the article:
Guardianships and conservatorships are an important and useful tool necessary for caring for disabled and incompetent adults. These tools allow others to handle the ward’s (the person being cared for) finances and health care decisions. However, they result in a significant loss of liberty and decisionmaking ability on the part of the ward and due to the procedural and judicial requirements of the process of establishing guardianship and conservatorship, are not easily accessible when needed.
A useful alternative for adults who need assistance or want to engage in advance planning is the durable general power of attorney. These statutes exist in every state, including Iowa. However, their ease of use also results in ease of abuse. Additional protections for vulnerable principals who cannot advocate for themselves are necessary.
Iowa has already established the legislative infrastructure for these additional protections to be effective. The state simply has to implement its already-passed legislation. The state recently took a significant step in the interest of protecting vulnerable adults when it passed the Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act in 2014. This Note looks to the future of advance directives in Iowa and provides additional suggestions for continued and improved protection of vulnerable adults in the state.