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Services: What We Do

Guardians and conservators are appointed by the court to help individuals who need assistance making decisions. Guardians help make personal decisions, which might include where to live or what medical treatment is necessary, while conservators help manage the finances. Both are appointed by a judge through a court process to make sure the individual’s rights are protected and that he/she is informed of the arrangement.


In most instances, the court appoints a family member to serve as an individual's guardian or conservator. However, if there are no family members who are willing or able to serve, a third party, like Decisions for Life, may be appointed. This may occur when:

  • An individual in need of decision-making assistance has no family, or the family resides out of state, making it difficult to manage day-to-day affairs.

  • The family is estranged or the individual has a history of conflict with the family that has strained communication.

  • The individual does not want family members to be appointed to assist him/her.

  • The family does not want to accept the legal responsibility of being appointed guardian or conservator.

  • After being appointed, a family member finds the process overwhelming and feels it is straining family relationships.

  • Family dynamics  make it difficult to perform the duties necessary to be a guardian or conservator.


The guardianship process is difficult and can be very emotional. Decisions for Life follows the ethical principles and standards of practice of the National Guardianship Association, meaning it strongly believes in honoring the clients it serves and treating everyone involved with dignity and respect.


Decisions for Life might be able to assist you if:

  • You need quality substitute decision-making services for your loved one;

  • Someone has been appointed as guardian or conservator and no longer wants to continue with the legal responsibility; or

  • There is no family member who is willing or able to serve for an individual in need of decision-making assistance.


Decisions for Life also provides professional educational services.

Health planning


A Guardianship is established when the court appoints an individual (the guardian) to have custody of another individual (the protected person) under provisions set by the probate code. A General (or Full) Guardianship gives the guardian the authority to make all personal care decisions on behalf of the protected person,  except those that require prior court approval.

Financial planning


A conservatorship is established when the court appoints an individual (the conservator) to have custody and control of the property of another individual (the protected person) under provisions set by the probate code. Individuals served include minor children and adults whose decision-making capacity is so impaired that they are unable to make, communicate or carry out important decisions concerning financial affairs.

people at training workshop


Decisions for Life offers a variety of presentations and workshops for professionals whose daily work involves substitute decision-making. This may include case managers, financial planners, attorneys, family counselors, mediators and others who are interested in how guardianships and conservatorships work within the state of Iowa.

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