- For Attorneys
The following are WA statutes:
Authority to appoint guardians — Definitions — Venue — Nomination by principal.
(1) The superior court of each county shall have power to appoint guardians for the persons and/or estates of incapacitated persons, and guardians for the estates of nonresidents of the state who have property in the county needing care and attention.
(a) For purposes of this chapter, a person may be deemed incapacitated as to person when the superior court determines the individual has a significant risk of personal harm based upon a demonstrated inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing, or physical safety.
(b) For purposes of this chapter, a person may be deemed incapacitated as to the person's estate when the superior court determines the individual is at significant risk of financial harm based upon a demonstrated inability to adequately manage property or financial affairs.
(c) A determination of incapacity is a legal not a medical decision, based upon a demonstration of management insufficiencies over time in the area of person or estate. Age, eccentricity, poverty, or medical diagnosis alone shall not be sufficient to justify a finding of incapacity.
(d) A person may also be determined incapacitated if he or she is under the age of majority as defined in RCW 26.28.010.
(e) For purposes of giving informed consent for health care pursuant to RCW 7.70.050 and 7.70.065, an "incompetent" person is any person who is (i) incompetent by reason of mental illness, developmental disability, senility, habitual drunkenness, excessive use of drugs, or other mental incapacity, of either managing his or her property or caring for himself or herself, or both, or (ii) incapacitated as defined in (a), (b), or (d) of this subsection.
(f) For purposes of the terms "incompetent," "disabled," or "not legally competent," as those terms are used in the Revised Code of Washington to apply to persons incapacitated under this chapter, those terms shall be interpreted to mean "incapacitated" persons for purposes of this chapter.
(2) The superior court for each county shall have power to appoint limited guardians for the persons and estates, or either thereof, of incapacitated persons, who by reason of their incapacity have need for protection and assistance, but who are capable of managing some of their personal and financial affairs. After considering all evidence presented as a result of such investigation, the court shall impose, by order, only such specific limitations and restrictions on an incapacitated person to be placed under a limited guardianship as the court finds necessary for such person's protection and assistance. A person shall not be presumed to be incapacitated nor shall a person lose any legal rights or suffer any legal disabilities as the result of being placed under a limited guardianship, except as to those rights and disabilities specifically set forth in the court order establishing such a limited guardianship. In addition, the court order shall state the period of time for which it shall be applicable.
(3) Venue for petitions for guardianship or limited guardianship shall lie in the county wherein the alleged incapacitated person is domiciled, or if such person resides in a facility supported in whole or in part by local, state, or federal funding sources, in either the county where the facility is located, the county of domicile prior to residence in the supported facility, or the county where a parent or spouse of the alleged incapacitated person is domiciled.
If the alleged incapacitated person's residency has changed within one year of the filing of the petition, any interested person may move for a change of venue for any proceedings seeking the appointment of a guardian or a limited guardian under this chapter to the county of the alleged incapacitated person's last place of residence of one year or more. The motion shall be granted when it appears to the court that such venue would be in the best interests of the alleged incapacitated person and would promote more complete consideration of all relevant matters.
(4) Under RCW 11.94.010, a principal may nominate, by a durable power of attorney, the guardian or limited guardian of his or her estate or person for consideration by the court if guardianship proceedings for the principal's person or estate are thereafter commenced. The court shall make its appointment in accordance with the principal's most recent nomination in a durable power of attorney except for good cause or disqualification.
(5) Imposition of a guardianship for an incapacitated person shall not result in the loss of the right to vote unless the court determines that the person is incompetent for purposes of rationally exercising the franchise in that the individual lacks the capacity to understand the nature and effect of voting such that she or he cannot make an individual choice. The court order establishing guardianship shall specify whether or not the individual retains voting rights. When a court determines that the person is incompetent for the purpose of rationally exercising the right to vote, the court shall notify the appropriate county auditor.
[2005 c 236 § 3; (2005 c 236 § 2 expired January 1, 2006); 2004 c 267 § 139; 1991 c 289 § 1; 1990 c 122 § 2; 1984 c 149 § 176; 1977 ex.s. c 309 § 2; 1975 1st ex.s. c 95 § 2; 1965 c 145 § 11.88.010. Prior: 1917 c 156 § 195; RRS § 1565; prior: Code 1881 § 1604; 1873 p 314 § 299; 1855 p 15 § 1.]
Petition — Contents — Hearing.
(1) Any person or *entity may petition for the appointment of a qualified person, trust company, national bank, or nonprofit corporation authorized in RCW 11.88.020 as the guardian or limited guardian of an incapacitated person. No liability for filing a petition for guardianship or limited guardianship shall attach to a petitioner acting in good faith and upon reasonable basis. A petition for guardianship or limited guardianship shall state:
(a) The name, age, residence, and post office address of the alleged incapacitated person;
(b) The nature of the alleged incapacity in accordance with RCW 11.88.010;
(c) The approximate value and description of property, including any compensation, pension, insurance, or allowance, to which the alleged incapacitated person may be entitled;
(d) Whether there is, in any state, a guardian or limited guardian, or pending guardianship action for the person or estate of the alleged incapacitated person;
(e) The residence and post office address of the person whom petitioner asks to be appointed guardian or limited guardian;
(f) The names and addresses, and nature of the relationship, so far as known or can be reasonably ascertained, of the persons most closely related by blood or marriage to the alleged incapacitated person;
(g) The name and address of the person or facility having the care and custody of the alleged incapacitated person;
(h) The reason why the appointment of a guardian or limited guardian is sought and the interest of the petitioner in the appointment, and whether the appointment is sought as guardian or limited guardian of the person, the estate, or both;
(i) A description of any alternate arrangements previously made by the alleged incapacitated person, such as trusts or powers of attorney, including identifying any guardianship nominations contained in a power of attorney, and why a guardianship is nevertheless necessary;
(j) The nature and degree of the alleged incapacity and the specific areas of protection and assistance requested and the limitation of rights requested to be included in the court's order of appointment;
(k) The requested term of the limited guardianship to be included in the court's order of appointment;
(l) Whether the petitioner is proposing a specific individual to act as guardian ad litem and, if so, the individual's knowledge of or relationship to any of the parties, and why the individual is proposed.
(2)(a) The attorney general may petition for the appointment of a guardian or limited guardian in any case in which there is cause to believe that a guardianship is necessary and no private party is able and willing to petition.
(b) Prepayment of a filing fee shall not be required in any guardianship or limited guardianship brought by the attorney general. Payment of the filing fee shall be ordered from the estate of the incapacitated person at the hearing on the merits of the petition, unless in the judgment of the court, such payment would impose a hardship upon the incapacitated person, in which case the filing shall be waived.
(3) No filing fee shall be charged by the court for filing either a petition for guardianship or a petition for limited guardianship if the petition alleges that the alleged incapacitated person has total assets of a value of less than three thousand dollars.
(4)(a) Notice that a guardianship proceeding has been commenced shall be personally served upon the alleged incapacitated person and the guardian ad litem along with a copy of the petition for appointment of a guardian. Such notice shall be served not more than five court days after the petition has been filed.
(b) Notice under this subsection shall include a clear and easily readable statement of the legal rights of the alleged incapacitated person that could be restricted or transferred to a guardian by a guardianship order as well as the right to counsel of choice and to a jury trial on the issue of incapacity. Such notice shall be in substantially the following form and shall be in capital letters, double-spaced, and in a type size not smaller than ten-point type:
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY
A PETITION TO HAVE A GUARDIAN APPOINTED FOR YOU HAS BEEN FILED IN THE . . . . . . COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT BY . . . . . . IF A GUARDIAN IS APPOINTED, YOU COULD LOSE ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING RIGHTS:
(1) TO MARRY OR DIVORCE;
(2) TO VOTE OR HOLD AN ELECTED OFFICE;
(3) TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT OR MAKE OR REVOKE A WILL;
(4) TO APPOINT SOMEONE TO ACT ON YOUR BEHALF;
(5) TO SUE AND BE SUED OTHER THAN THROUGH A GUARDIAN;
(6) TO POSSESS A LICENSE TO DRIVE;
(7) TO BUY, SELL, OWN, MORTGAGE, OR LEASE PROPERTY;
(8) TO CONSENT TO OR REFUSE MEDICAL TREATMENT;
(9) TO DECIDE WHO SHALL PROVIDE CARE AND ASSISTANCE;
(10) TO MAKE DECISIONS REGARDING SOCIAL ASPECTS OF YOUR LIFE.
UNDER THE LAW, YOU HAVE CERTAIN RIGHTS.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED BY A LAWYER OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING. THE COURT WILL APPOINT A LAWYER TO REPRESENT YOU IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO PAY OR PAYMENT WOULD RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIAL HARDSHIP TO YOU.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR A JURY TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT YOU NEED A GUARDIAN TO HELP YOU.
YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PRESENT IN COURT AND TESTIFY WHEN THE HEARING IS HELD TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT YOU NEED A GUARDIAN. IF A GUARDIAN AD LITEM IS APPOINTED, YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REQUEST THE COURT TO REPLACE THAT PERSON.
(5) All petitions filed under the provisions of this section shall be heard within sixty days unless an extension of time is requested by a party or the guardian ad litem within such sixty day period and granted for good cause shown. If an extension is granted, the court shall set a new hearing date.