Establishing a Guardianship

When a person is unable to handle their financial or personal care decisions and someone needs to obtain authority to make the decisions, a guardianship may be necessary.

A guardianship proceeding is commenced by the filing of a petition seeking the appointment of a guardian. The court will appoint a "guardian ad litem" to act as the court's investigator and make a recommendation as to petition. Following a hearing the court may appoint a guardian to act on behalf of the incapacitated person with appropriate restrictions and necessary reporting requirements.

A guardian may be appointed to manage the financial affairs of a person who is at significant risk of harm because of a "demonstrated inability to adequately manage property or financial affairs. " RCW 11.88.010.

A guardian may also be appointed to make health care and personal care decisions for a person at significant risk of harm because of a "demonstrated inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing or physical safety." RCW 11.88.010.

A guardianship is a last resort and should only be pursued if there is not a "less restrictive alternative" to assist the incapacitated person A guardianship can often be avoided by engaging in disability/estate planning before capacity is lost and may be avoided by creative solutions to a loved one's disability and needs.

Guardianships may be appropriate for reasons such as the following:

  • Underage (when parents are unable to care for a minor)
  • Physical incapacitation (in a coma, for example)
  • Mental incapacitation (dementia, Alzheimer's, for example)

To determine what the best solution is in your situation, contact a Lynnwood guardianship attorney at Riach Gese Jacobs PLLC. We have experience representing petitioners seeking the appointment of a guardian and representing alleged incapacitated persons contesting the petition for a guardianship.

Our law firm has been earning the trust of our community since 1959. Many of our Washington clients are in the second and third generations of a relationship with our law firm. Our lawyers believe in giving seniors, alleged incapacitated persons, and their families ample time, attention and information. We want our clients to be well-informed and understand the legal processes, procedures and provisions when undertaking important steps such as a guardianship. We will work to ensure the least restrictive and effective alternative to achieve the necessary results.

If your elderly father or mother, adult disabled child or severely injured family member is unable to make his or her own decisions or handle his or her own money, contact us for a consultation to discuss the options.

Do You Need a Court-Appointed Guardian? Contact Riach Gese Jacobs PLLC.

Please e-mail or call us at 425-776-3191 to schedule a consultation with a trusted elder law attorney.