Assistance- Questions & Answers
jump down to questions & answers on:
Assistance | Advance Directives (Living
Wills & Durable Power of Attorney) |
& Conservatorship | Lawyer Referral | Grandparents' Rights
I need legal advice but cannot afford to pay an attorney. What
do I do?
There are several options available:
Legal Hotline for Older Iowans is a free and confidential
service for Iowans 60 years and older who have questions about
non-criminal legal matters. You may reach the Hotline at 1-800-992-8161
or 515-282-8161. The Legal Hotline provides free and confidential
advice, brief service and referral about most non-criminal legal
questions. The Hotline can help people with their legal problems
legal advice and written materials about legal questions
people know when they need more than advice, and referring
them to the right place for help. Advice can also be provided
to people seeking help on behalf of older Iowans who are
unable to call.
Iowans may contact the Hotline with questions about:
Medicare, health care directives, insurance and other health
Security, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Administration
benefits, food stamps and other income maintenance programs.
and real estate issues.
issues, including telephone and mail solicitations, debt
collection practices, and consumer credit problems.
rights, elder abuse, and other family law matters.
of persons in nursing homes, county care facilities or hospitals.
and health care directives.
non-criminal legal matters.
problem will require ongoing legal representation, you will
be referred to an appropriate source of legal assistance in
your area. The
Legal Hotline for Older Iowans is a project of the: Iowa
Legal Aid, 1111 9th Street, Suite 230, Des Moines, IA 50314-2427.
your local Area Agency on Aging.
Each Area Agency on Aging contracts with a legal provider in
that area to provide legal assistance to persons 60 and older.
Lawyers Project. Volunteer lawyers from all over the state provide
free legal help to qualifying low income Iowans in civil cases.
The Iowa Legal Aid (ILA) will perform all screening for the
project. To locate your regional office call 1-800-532-1275.
Further information is also available at
- Find a Lawyer Service. This service of the Iowa State Bar Association
can locate an attorney in your area willing to help with legal
problems. The cost for any service beyond the initial meeting
is to be agreed upon between the attorney and client. To contact
the Find a Lawyer Service, call 515-243-3179.
Click here for aditional information.
Directives (Living Wills & Durable
(Medical) Power of Attorney)
can I find information on advance directives, including living
wills and durable power of attorney for health care?
A step-by-step guide to preparing advance directives documents
is available on our website. The guide is entitled: "The
Gift of Peace of Mind: For Yourself, For Your Family" [PDF
Format- be patient with load time- this is a large document].
can I get the forms to complete a living will or durable power
of attorney for health care?
information is available in the Iowa
Bar Association forms section. It is strongly recommended
that you consult an attorney when completing these documents.
In addition, forms are available in the guide "The Gift of
Peace of Mind", linked in the answer to the question above.
What is a Guardian?
A guardian is appointed to make decisions about the ward's needs
or affairs other than financial matters. These may include decisions
about things like medical treatment, where the ward lives, and
arrangements for services such as meals, personal care, training
and education, to mention just a few.
What is a Conservator?
The conservator is responsible for making decisions about the
financial affairs of the ward. The ward's estate includes assets-
such as stocks, bonds, bank accounts, cash and real estate- for
which the conservator has assumed responsibility. Generally, the
conservator controls all of the ward's income and property, takes
care of paying bills, and handles other financial matters.
How do I know if guardianship or conservatorship is appropriate?
First, contemplate & review all reasonable alternatives. Guardianship
or conservatorship is not necessary in every case where you, your
older parent, or older loved one requires financial management
help or personal care help. The Iowa Department on Aging chairs
the Substitute Decision Making Task Force, which produced a booklet
to Guardianship & Conservatorship" [PDF Format] that
examines some of the alternatives short of legal arrangements
such as guardianship and conservatorship.
have new standards which need to be met in order to establish
a guardianship or conservatorship. If you are contemplating establishing
a guardianship or conservatorship, it is best to contact an attorney.
Lawyers Division, Services to the Elderly Committee of the Iowa
State Bar Association, has a videotape and handbook available
which discusses the role of a guardian and/or conservator. To
order this tape and booklet contact the Bar Association at 515-243-3179 or view booklet by clicking here.
For questions on Guardianship, Conservatorship or Powers of Attorney the following center is a resource: The National Health Law and Policy Resource Center is a national “think tank” affiliated with the University of Iowa College of Law. It maintains an information clearinghouse, provides education and training, conducts research and demonstration projects. Its programs include the Program on Elder Policy and Law. This program is a resource for information concerning guardianships, conservatorships and advanced directives (durable power of attorney for health care and living wills). Visit the center on the Web at www.uiowa.edu/~law-nhlp/. Contact the center by e-mail at email@example.com or phone at (319)335-9067.
link to locate fact
sheets on guardianship and conservatorship.
I need legal representation for a civil issue. Can you refer me
to a lawyer?
Iowa Bar Association offers a lawyer referral service. The service
can supply you the name or names of lawyers who are willing to
consult and advise you at a discounted rate of no more than $25
for the first 30 minutes. If further legal services on your behalf
are necessary, you may arrange for them at that time, if you wish.
The service is available on-line at the Iowa
Bar Association Lawyer Referral page.
Do grandparents and great-grandparents in Iowa have visitation rights?
A: Yes. In general, a grandparent or great grandparent may request visitation through the court when:
- The child of the grandparent is deceased
- The parent of the child is unfit. The court shall consider a fit parent’s objections to granting visitation, however, the law sets out instances when the parent may be presumed unfit.
- It is in the best interest of the child
- The grandparent has a substantial relationship with the child
These changes will take effect July 1, 2010. See Iowa Code 600C. For more information, contact the Legal Hotline for Older Iowans at 1-800-992-8161.