We strive to make the guardianship process as effortless for you as possible. We can meet you at our offices in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle or other locations in the greater Seattle area and Snohomish County. Our guardianship services include filing the first set of reports to the court, which are due within 90 days of the appointment of the guardian(s). Because our office specializes in disabilities issues, we provide a unique understanding of issues that often come up and the potential pitfalls that prospective guardians may face in court.
Denise Redinger is an expert in adult guardianship and speaks regularly on the issue at the request of school districts, DSHS' Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), ARC of King County, ARC of Snohomish County and other organizations. She is the mother of three, including an adult daughter with special needs. A passionate advocate for the disabilities community, she has been a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem for children with special needs and a speaker for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) on related issues.
We understand the importance of securing a guardianship for your loved one and want to make our services affordable for you. Please feel free to ask us about progress payments and other options for financing the guardianship process. We also offer a free 10-minute initial telephone consult to discuss your options.
What is a guardianship?
A guardianship is a legal court process by which a court deems a person incapacitated (RCW 11.88.010) and appoints an appropriate person(s) to make financial, health care, non-financial and/or other decisions for the incapacitated person.
Anyone can file a guardianship petition to the court. It can be filed by the prospective guardians or by a teacher or family friend. It can even be filed by an institution.
Can I obtain a guardianship without an attorney?
A guardianship can be handled pro se, that is, without representation by an attorney. However, navigating the court system and understanding legal language can be stressful and confusing. It is also a very time-consuming process that many families find is a much bigger commitment than they bargained for. An experienced attorney can make this process go quickly and smoothly.
Why would I need a guardianship?
Guardianship is a means of protecting a person who does not have the ability to make informed decisions for themselves. That person may be vulnerable in certain areas (financial, etc.) as a result of a disability or diagnosis. Most of our clients need a guardianship for one of two reasons: either they have a friend or loved one with special needs, or an elderly person in their life has lost the mental capacity to manage their affairs.
Because guardianship is fundamentally about transferring legal rights from one adult to another, we work with our clients to tailor a guardianship that allows the incapacitated person to maintain their own dignity and personal liberty. For example, a guardian can gain the right to consent to health care for their loved one while still allowing the incapacitated person to give input into decisions about their medical care. An incapacitated person can even maintain the right to vote or marry. Ultimately, the goal is find the least restrictive means of protecting the incapacitated person.
In the case of elderly incapacitated persons, a guardianship is usually only needed when a durable power of attorney is either nonexistent or no longer applies.
Guardians are required to report to the court on a periodic basis (usually every 12, 24 or 36 months). A Guardian of the Person reports on the health and well-being of the incapacitated person, and a Guardian of the Estate is required to give an accounting of the incapacitated person's income, disbursements and assets. Many of our clients fill out and file these reports with the court on their own. The forms are available for free on the Washington State courts website.
The Court will not send you any reminders that these reports are due. We do offer services for completing and filing these reports on your behalf. However, for liability reasons we are not able to give any advice on these reports if we have not retained you as a client on this specific matter. Please feel free to contact us for a quote on periodic reporting services.
Denise Redinger ♦ Laura Blair-Gano
ATTORNEYS AND COUNSELORS AT LAW
REDINGER LAW OFFICES, PLLC