The 2014 Iowa General Assembly is one vote away from passing a much-needed uniform power of attorney law that would help curb the growing problem of elder financial abuse in Iowa.
Senate File 2168, a bill creating a Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA), has passed the Iowa Senate and now awaits passage in the Iowa House, which is expected to bring the issue up for a vote soon. AARP is urging Iowans to make their voices heard on the importance of passing this critical legislation.
Multiple national studies have found that financial exploitation is the most common and under-reported type of elder abuse, with estimates that one of every six adults over age 64 has been a victim of financial abuse.
A power of attorney is a legal document that allows someone to make decisions on behalf of someone else. A power of attorney document can be a useful tool in the event of future incapacity and can avoid the need for court appointment of a guardian or conservator. But power of attorney misuse and abuse can lead to dire consequences for the person it was meant to benefit.
Many Iowans are fortunate to have a power of attorney agent who fulfills their responsibilities. SF 2168 seeks to address the unfortunate cases where an agent representing an older Iowan either fails to understand his or her responsibilities, misuses the power of attorney, or outright abuses the power of attorney, all of which hurt the individual and his or her family.
For the past two years, AARP Iowa has been active on the Iowa Elder Abuse Taskforce, working with state leaders, advocates, the Iowa Bar Association and other organizations appointed by the Iowa General Assembly to study the issue of elder abuse in our state and recommend actions to combat it. AARP believes the most important thing the 2014 Iowa General Assembly can and should do to fight elder financial exploitation in Iowa is to pass a strong Uniform Power of Attorney Act (UPOAA) as proposed in SF 2168.
Make your voice heard by contacting your State Representative by email here, or by calling our toll-free hotline 1-800-480-4075 and urge your State Representative to pass Senate File 2168 to better protect vulnerable Iowans and their families from financial exploitation and abuse.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXFeh9FKCDA&list=UUSwELOKemmk9O28nZfb-dyw[/youtube] Watch AARP State President Tony Vola, State Director Kent Sovern and AARP Advocates in action on this issue at the Iowa State Capitol earlier this session.