Guardianships and Conservatorships

Individuals have the right to make decisions about their lives; including, where and from who to receive medical services, where to live and how to manage their finances. Some individuals may need assistance in making these and other important decisions with the help of a substitute-decision maker.

There are different types of substitute-decision making services, including;

  • Conservatorship
  • Guardianship
  • Power of Attorney
  • Representative Payee
  • Trust

When other substitute-decision making services are unsuccessful, a court proceeding for a guardianship or conservatorship may need to be initiated. A legal proceeding is required prior to the appointment of a guardian and/or conservator to protect an individual’s rights.

Upon completion of a court proceeding, a judge may appoint an individual (guardian) to manage another’s (ward) care and/or an individual (conservator) to manage another’s (ward) financial matters.

Role of Polk County Attorney's Office

The Polk County Attorney’s Office Civil Division provides legal services for the Department of Human Services (DHS) in establishing adult guardianships and conservatorships. Because the Civil Division’s role is limited to representing DHS in these matters, the forms and documents on this site are made available as a courtesy to assist guardians and conservators during the course of their appointment. All forms and documents located on this site are intended as samples and should not be relied upon as official court documents.

For additional information or advice regarding guardianships or conservatorships, please contact an attorney.

Department of Human Services (Report Abuse and Fraud)

Drake Legal Clinic

Iowa Legal Aid

Iowa State Bar Association

Iowa Judicial Branch

Polk County Bar Association


Guardianship and Conservatorship Initial, Annual, and Final Report Forms are available on the Iowa Judicial Branch website: