IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP AND CONSERVATORSHIP OF DENISE LOUISE EVANS, Ward. DENISE LOUISE EVANS, Ward-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Craig E. Block,
Associate Probate Judge.
appeals from an order appointing a guardian and conservator
pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 633 (2016).
L. Green of Nading Law Firm, Ankeny, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen W. Kraemer,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and McDonald, JJ.
Evans appeals from an order appointing a temporary guardian
and conservator pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 633 (2016).
Evans makes three arguments on appeal. She argues an initial
emergency order authorizing services issued pursuant to Iowa
Code chapter 235B was inappropriate. She contends there was
insufficient evidence to establish the need for a
guardianship and conservatorship. She argues the district
court erred in not giving appropriate consideration to
establishing only a limited guardianship and conservatorship.
Code 235B.19 allows the Iowa Department of Human Services
(IDHS) to seek an emergency order authorizing protective
services for a dependent adult. In July 2016, IDHS petitioned
for such an order for the protection of Evans. At the time of
the petition, Evans was 56 years old and had been diagnosed
with multiple sclerosis. The petition alleged Evans had
"poor insight" regarding how her diagnosis of
multiple sclerosis affected her wellbeing. For example, Evans
continued to attempt to walk despite her inability to do so,
frequently fell, and caused herself injury. The petition
alleged Evans "allow[ed] homeless people to live with
her" and gave them access to her debit card. The
petition alleged Evans did not keep track of her money and
was unable to pay rent as a result. The petition further
alleged Evans had gone to the hospital on July 13 to treat a
stroke and would put herself at risk of harm by going home.
IDHS requested the district court to order Evans to remain
hospitalized until her treating medical providers discharged
her, order her to be placed as determined by the department
following her discharge, and order all medical decisions to
be made by her treating medical providers.
district court granted the petition for emergency relief. In
addition to the requested relief, the order allowed IDHS to
examine all medical and all financial records, including but
not limited to banking and investment records, of the
dependent adult (including medical records involving HIV
status, substance abuse and mental health treatment) and to
exchange information with treating medical professionals,
staff at the placement where the dependent adult [was]
residing, staff at any facilities where the dependent adult
may be placed, family members of the dependent adult, and any
potential guardians and/or conservators for the dependent
order also allowed the department of human services "to
enter the dependent adult's home to obtain any personal
property needed by the dependent adult and/or secure the
home" and "obtain and release information regarding
the dependent adult . . . to the Social Security
Administration for the purpose of obtaining funding for the
district court's order, by its terms, was to expire in
seventy-two hours. See Iowa Code § 235B.19(6).
From that point until October 2016, the district court issued
a series of emergency orders requiring Evans to remain in a
care facility under the supervision of IDHS.
October 2016, IDHS filed a petition for involuntary
appointment of guardian and conservator pursuant to Iowa Code
chapter 633. Evans resisted the petition. Following an
evidentiary hearing, the district court issued an order
naming Debra Williams, Evans's ...