Power of attorney gives one person the legal ability to make decisions on another person’s behalf in various situations.
In 2014, Iowa passed the Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act which governs how a person designates power of attorney (POA) and how the person holding POA may act. In Iowa, the law dictates that the default Iowa power of attorney is a durable POA. However, there are other POAs in Iowa you should understand.
Iowa Durable Power of Attorney
A durable power of attorney in Iowa allows a person (known as a principal) to choose an agent to make decisions on their behalf, including if they become incapacitated. Generally, that person will make decisions regarding business matters, accounts, and finances.
When it becomes effective depends on what the principal decides. It might become effective immediately, or only in the event the principal can no longer manage on their own.
Iowa General Power of Attorney
General power of attorney in Iowa gives a principal the ability to designate someone to make financial decisions on their behalf. That representative can make any decision that’s legal as long as it’s in the best interests of the principal.
Unlike other powers of attorney, the principal can revoke this permission at any time; additionally, it can become void should they wind up incapacitated.
Iowa Limited Power of Attorney
Limited power of attorney in Iowa means that a principal can appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf only under certain circumstances. It usually involves a specific situation or activity and ends when that situation or activity is over.
You would use this kind of form in Iowa during, say, the sale of a property when you designate a real estate agent to act on your behalf.
Iowa Medical Power of Attorney
You’re probably more familiar with medical power of attorney in Iowa than any other type. In this case, the principal designates someone who can make medical decisions for them in the event of their incapacitation, including end-of-life decisions.
This is different from a living will, which directs medical practitioners not to resuscitate you in the event you die.
Iowa Minor (Child) Power of Attorney
Parents use minor (child) power of attorney to authorize someone to act as a caretaker for their children, including doing anything necessary to maintain the child’s usual living standards. The agent may feed, clothe, and shelter the child and drive them to and from places like school. They can also make emergency and medical decisions for the child.