Frequently Asked Questions
An individual designates whom they would like to have making decisions of their behalf should they become incapacitated. A Guardianship is a court process where a judge determines if an individual is incapacitated. An individual can revoke their designation in a power of attorney document and replace it with another. A Guardianship can only be changed by petitioning the court and having the court make a determination. The legal authority of these documents are close to the same. However, federal government agencies, such as Social Security, do not recognize powers of attorney, which can be problematic in certain circumstances.
A guardian is required to advocate for a client by using various methods depending on the ability of the client. This might be supported decision-making, or substituted judgement, or in the best interests of the client when client preferences cannot be ascertained. Guardians are also required to ensure that their clients are taking advantage of all of the resources available to and to keep annual reviews up to date. A guardian of the estate is responsible for the proper management of the client’s assets and needs to get court permission before selling certain assets. A guardian or care manager working for the guardian me visit the client a minimum of monthly. Third party guardian, such as volunteer or professional guardians, are not caregivers; however, they ensure that the client’s care needs are met.
First, try to work the problem out with the guardian. Please keep in mind that guardians are held to Standards of Practice, which can be found on the Washington Courts website under Certified Professional Guardianship Program. If the client is in a facility, call the ombudsman assigned to that facility or the regional ombudsman for assistance. If there is a court hearing coming up, you can attend as a concerned person and voice your concern to the judge. If these fail and the concern is about a guardian Standard of Practice that isn’t being followed, you can file a grievance with the Certified Professional Guardian Board. This information is on the Washington Courts website under Certified Professional Guardianship Program.
- be at least 18 years of age; and
- be of sound mind; and
- have no felony convictions; and
- have no misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude; and
- have completed mandatory training (for more information visit this page); and
- be a resident of Washington State or one who has appointed a resident agent to accept service of process in all actions or proceedings with respect to the estate and appointment has been filed with the court; and be authorized to act as a fiduciary, guardian, or limited guardian in this state, if a corporation; and
- be a person who the court finds suitable; and
- complete the on-line lay guardian training