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Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act

Information

Iowa’s law on financial powers of attorney changed on July 1, 2014.  The new law is called the Iowa Uniform Power of Attorney Act. 

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a document that names someone to make decisions for you.  The power of attorney can be for financial decisions.  This is called a financial or general power of attorney.  A power of attorney can also be for health care decisions. This is called a health care or medical power of attorney. 

  • The new uniform power of attorney law covers only powers of attorney for financial and property decisions. 

  • The new uniform power of attorney law does not apply to the medical power of attorney for health care decisions. (See Health Care Power of Attorney) 

Why is there a new law?

The old law was very basic.  The new law explains more fully what authority can be given to the person you name with the power of attorney.  It explains more fully the rights and responsibilities that go with a financial power of attorney.  The new law also includes a form that can be used to set up a power of attorney. 

Some of the changes include: 

  • The power of attorney is in effect right away unless the form says otherwise.

  • The power of attorney is “durable” unless the form says otherwise.  Durable means the power of attorney stays in effect even if you can no longer make decisions due to decline in health.

  • The person you name in the power of attorney is called “your agent”.  You are called “the principal”. 

  • The law gives certain people or agencies the right to challenge actions of your agent in court if they believe the agent is taking advantage of you. 

  • Your agent does not get paid for having power of attorney unless you say so in the form.

  • The form included with the law has an introduction overview of the power of attorney and an overview of the agent’s duties.

What are my power of attorney agent’s duties?

  • Your agent must do what they know you reasonably want them to do. If they don’t know what you want they are to act in your best interest.

  • Your agent is to act in good faith.

  • Your agent is not to do anything beyond what is allowed by the power of attorney form.

  • Your agent is to make clear that they are acting for you by including your name when signing documents for you. 

For example:      ________________________________ (your name)

By _____________________________ (your agent) as Agent

 

What terminates your power of attorney agent’s authority?

Events that terminate your power of attorney agent’s authority include:

  • Your death (death of the principal)

  • You revoke the power of attorney

  • Divorce will end a power of attorney when you name your spouse unless you say in the form that it should continue.

  • If your agent is unable or unwilling to act for you, your power of attorney will end, UNLESS you have named a successor agent in the form.

If I already have a financial power of attorney do I need a new one?

If the financial power of attorney was legally done before July 1, 2014 it remains valid.  Also out of state powers of attorney and military powers of attorney continue to be valid if they were legally done. 

Can I make a new power of attorney on my own?

It is recommended that you get help from an attorney.  A financial power of attorney gives someone the ability to make financial decisions for you and have access to your finances and property.  It is important that you understand the power of attorney fully.  It is also important that you only name someone you trust completely. 


Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans. 

To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid:

  • Call 800-532-1275. 

  • Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161.

  • Apply online at iowalegalaid.org

If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer”   A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.

*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.

Last Review and Update: Nov 12, 2014
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