Sunday, December 15, 2019

Iowa Guardians and Conservators: Substantial Changes in Store for 2020





If you are (a) currently acting as the guardian and/or conservator for an Iowa resident or (b) plan to be appointed as guardian and/or conservator for an Iowa resident, bigly changes are in place for 2020 for annual reports or initial reports starting January 1, 2020.

I'll leave the procedural details out for now.  (Nobody except for attorneys really read those anyway). Maybe another post for another day.  But for the annual reports for guardians and/or conservators, the forms are going from the very basic two pages (or so), to 16 and 19 pages long, respectively.  Granted, some of the information that goes on the forms is fairly simple to fill out, but it is a substantial change to what was previously required under the old statute and rules and will take more time and effort.  But hey, all of the guardians and conservators that I work with have plenty of time to learn the new forms, fill them out and either file or have an attorney file them, right?

Another question is "why"?  Well, we've known for some time that the system needed to be improved.  However, you have to be careful when you start tinkering and before long you end up with a full blown change, much like we have here.    (Kind of like when I start with the intent of just trimming one little branch off a tree, and before long 3/4 of the tree has been "trimmed" and is laying on the ground all around me and there is just one straight stick standing out of the ground.)  I won't get into the back story and other issues that came about, but I will say that a substantial majority of the Iowa probate attorneys (and judges) are not pleased with the end result.

Unfortunately, the first set of forms that the Iowa Judicial branch has prepared were not approved by the legislative committee, but a new set of forms were recently proposed, so we are awaiting those to be approved.  If you want to get a taste of the new guardianship annual report form, here is a link to the new proposed form.  Some legislators think that these forms will only take 30 minutes or so to fill out.  Ha.  Remember, these are the same legislators that . . . never mind, I better not go down that road.


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