One of the sad realities of life is that as people age, their bodies undoubtedly deteriorate. A deterioration in their mental capacity may also accompany that of their physical functions. If this is happening to one that you love, you may be concerned about their ability to take care of both themselves and their personal matters. Many with such concerns come to us here at Riach Gese Jacobs PLLC wondering if there is anything they can do to help ensure that such an aging and ailing individual is taken care of. One way to do so is to seek guardianship.
Washington state allows guardianship to be granted over adults for whom disability has led to their incapacity (in this context, “incapacity” refers to an inability to care for oneself). Disabilities recognized as contributing to incapacity include:
- A deterioration in physical and mental capabilities
- Mental illness
- Developmental disabilities
When you are granted guardianship over one suffering from any of the aforementioned issues, you are given authority to make decisions related to their lives in order to protect their interests. Depending on the extent of your guardianship, this can include decisions regarding medical treatment and where they live. The court may also extend (or limit) your guardianship responsibilities to include the management of their income, property, and estate.
According to the website for the Arc of Washington State, to request guardianship you must present your petition to both the court and your proposed ward. An investigator will then look into the matter and report their findings to the court (along with a statement from a licensed physician or psychologist confirming your loved one’s incapacity). A hearing will then be held to rule on your petition.
More information on seeking guardianship can be found throughout our site.