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What is an Iowa Power of Attorney?

An Iowa power of attorney is a legal document that acts as the authorization for a person, known as the agent or the attorney-in-fact, to make financial decisions, healthcare decisions, real estate decisions, or estate decisions on behalf of the person granting this authority. An Iowa POA is most commonly used during the estate planning process. However, there are other instances where it is a useful tool.

Quick Reference:

The person granting permission is referred to as the principal, donor, or grantor.

The person receiving authorization is known as the agent or the attorney-in-fact.

IA POA Laws:

An Iowa power of attorney implies that the power of attorney form complies with the Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act. Iowa law specifically outlines the parameters of a legally enforceable power of attorney and ensures that the form, as well as its duties, are protected under the law. The power of attorney laws include some of the following requirements, according to Iowa Legal Aid:

  • All powers of attorney are durable unless they specifically state otherwise.
  • The principal must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The principal must be of sound mind and understand what they are signing.
  • Certain agencies or individuals can challenge the POA if they believe the agent is taking advantage of the principal.
  • The agent is not entitled to payment unless it is specifically mentioned in the POA.
  • According to Chapter 633b, the principal must sign the POA in the presence of a notary public

The principal has the ability to specifically state which powers the agent may and may not exercise on their behalf. The principal may also revoke (terminate) the POA at any time even if it is durable. The principal must only be considered competent. The POA is also terminated if:

  • The principal dies.
  • The principal becomes incapacitated and the POA isn’t durable.
  • The POA’s purpose is fulfilled or its expiration date passes.
  • The agent dies, becomes incapacitated, or resigns and there is no co-agent or successor agent named.
  • The principal and agent are married and file for divorce or legal separation.

Why Would You Use an Iowa Power of Attorney Form?

There are many reasons why someone would use an Iowa power of attorney form to provide someone with the power to make decisions related to their tangible property, financial institution transactions, tax matters, or their well-being. Some of those reasons include:

  • Age, mental health concerns, or illnesses. They may want their affairs handled in specific ways. It is generally advised that everyone, including those with a terminal illness and those in perfect health, establish the right power of attorney to ensure their affairs are properly handled and that their wishes are fulfilled.
  • A person with a mental illness may require a different power of attorney than a person with a terminal illness.
  • A person who has dependent children may require a different power of attorney than a person who does not have dependent children.

Each person’s power of attorney needs may vary. Thankfully, there are many types of power of attorney documents. Before deciding which to use, you should seek the advice of an attorney so that you can choose the best one for your needs. You should also ask how to properly revoke a POA in the event you need to do so. Here are the most commonly used Iowa power of attorney forms.

General Power of Attorney

A general power of attorney grants an agent with the authorization to handle broad matters on behalf of the principal.

  • Keep in mind that Iowa laws state that all POAs are durable unless specifically stated otherwise. General power of attorney forms lose their power if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. The principal may also revoke the power of attorney.

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney is an "extended version" of a general power of attorney because it goes beyond the parameters of a general power of attorney.

  • The term "durable" comes from the fact that this authorization continues over the principal if they become incapacitated. Remember that the state laws in Iowa state that all POAs are automatically deemed as durable unless specifically stated otherwise. A principal may revoke a durable power of attorney as long as they are competent.

Limited Power of Attorney

A limited power of attorney grants limited power to whatever the principal specifies.

  • In many cases, an agent will have power to handle finances, or make medical decisions, but will not have authority to do other things such as sell property (depending on what the principal decides). Just like a general power of attorney, the authority terminates if the principal dies or becomes incapacitated. The POA will also expire once it has fulfilled its purpose or if it has an expiration date that passes. The principal may also revoke the document as long as they are not incapacitated.

Healthcare Power of Attorney

A healthcare power of attorney, also known as a medical power of attorney, grants power to the agent to make important healthcare decisions on the principal's behalf.

  • Since all POAs are considered durable in Iowa unless otherwise stated, this power continues if the principal becomes incapacitated. However, it does not give the agent the power to make any kind of power to make end-of-life decisions. Instead, the principal also needs a completed living will or advance directive. The University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics provides a free PDF download for both a living will and advance directive.

Minor Child Power of Attorney

A minor child power of attorney allows a parent or guardian to grant decision-making rights over their child to a temporary guardian in the case that the parent or guardian may not be present during a medical emergency.

  • This form is generally used if the parent or guardian must leave the country for a period of time. The form may also be used when the child is temporarily traveling or living with another adult.

Real Estate Power of Attorney

A real estate power of attorney grants power to the agent, allowing them to buy, sell, and manage real estate on the principal's behalf.

  • It has the flexibility to be either durable or non-durable.  Because of this, it is important to seek legal advice before using it.

Tax Power of Attorney

A tax power of attorney form allows the agent, generally a qualified individual such as an accountant, to prepare and submit tax information to the Iowa Department of Revenue on behalf of the principal.

Vehicle Power of Attorney

A vehicle power of attorney, officially known as Form 411021 allows the agent to buy, sell, and handle the necessary paperwork with the Iowa Department of Transportation on the principal's behalf.

Download a PDF or Word Template

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