Guardianship of the Person vs. Guardianship of the Estate:

  • Guardianship of the Person: Guardians of the person are appointed in cases where the court finds that a person is at significant risk of personal harm due to inability to provide for his or her nutrition, health, housing or physical safety.
  • Guardianship of the Estate: Guardians of the estate are appointed in cases where the court finds that a person is at risk for personal harm as the result of his or her inability to manage their property or financial affairs.
  • Co-Guardianship (of Person and/or Estate): The Court is not restricted in the number of guardians that it might appoint in a guardianship. However, as a practical matter, when co-guardians are appointed the court will generally identify the duties and responsibilities of each guardian as well as the duties and responsibilities of the guardians jointly. The concept of co-guardians should not be confused with the appointment of separate persons or agencies to serve as guardian of the person and guardian of the estate - they are not co-guardians; only if you have more than one guardian of the person or more than one guardian of the estate do you have co-guardians.

Who may be a Guardian?

There are two types of guardians; a family or friend guardian, and a Certified Professional Guardian. A person is qualified to serve as a guardian who is:

  • Eighteen years of age
  • Not convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude
  • A person whom the court finds suitable
  • An agency authorized to act as fiduciary, guardian or limited guardian in the State of Washington

What is a Guardianship?

A Guardianship is a legal process wherein an individual or agency is appointed by the Superior Court and given the power and responsibility to make decisions for another person. The Court determines if a person is incapacitated physically and/or mentally and in need of a guardian.


When is Guardianship necessary?

When a person becomes incapable of making personal, financial or medical decisions due to diminished mental or physical capacity and there is no other appropriate person with the authority to provide substitute decision making; then a guardianship is necessary.  A guardianship may also be necessary if an individual becomes vulnerable to exploitation.


What is Assisted Living?

Assisted living emphasizes privacy, independence and person choice.  Services include meals, personal care, help with medication, limited supervision, organized activities and limited nursing services.  Assisted living is staffed 24 hours a day, and help is available around the clock.

What can a person do if they have a guardian
and don't want one?

Anyone can ask (petition) the court to end the guardianship or change the guardian's duties or assign a new guardian.

Senior Guardianship Services, LLC, 1800 Cooper Point Road SW, Bldg. 22, Olympia WA 98502


How is a Guardianship Established?

An individual must petition the Court on behalf of the person they determine to be unable to take care of him or herself.  That “individual” may be a family member, a neighbor, a facility or even the Attorney General’s Office.

When a petition is presented to the Court, a Guardian ad Litem is appointed to do a thorough investigation, he/she will obtain a medical/psychological review to determine an appropriate guardian and determine the scope of the guardianship and then make recommendations to the Court. A judge or commissioner reviews all the medical/mental reports, the GAL recommendation and determines if the person is incapacitated.   When necessary a guardian is appointed to manage some or all of his/her affairs. The Court will then enter (file) an Order Appointing Guardian or Limited Guardian, or an Order Dismissing Petition if it determines that the Alleged Incapacitated Person is capable of managing his/her affairs through assistance of family or a Power of Attorney.  The Court will then determine the appropriate person or agency to serve as guardian. The Order Appointing Guardian will specifically delineate the Guardian's responsibility and limitations.  The Court will always oversee all actions taken on behalf of the incapacitated person.  The guardian must also follow specific guidelines and make annual reports to the Court that require Court approval. Since the incapacitated person may lose some or all of his/her rights, this process is taken very seriously by the Court.

What is Adult Residential Care?

Adult Residential Care facilities are licensed boarding homes.  They provide room and board, help with personal care tasks and may provide help with medications.  Residents may have limited supervision.

What are Adult Family Homes?

Adult family homes are residential homes licensed to care for up to six residents.  They provide room, board, laundry, necessary supervision, assistance with activities of daily living, personal care and social services, when necessary.

What is Enhanced Adult Residential Care?

Enhanced Adult Residential Care provides all the same services as Adult Residential Care.  In addition, limited nursing care may be provided and no more than two people will share a room.

What is a Nursing Home?

Nursing homes provide 24-hour, skilled nursing care, personal care, therapy, nutrition management, organized activities, social services, room, board and laundry.  There is a nurse on duty at all times.

Why select a Certified Professional Guardian?

Certified Professional Guardians (CPG) are professionals who choose this career and have been carefully trained and certified by the Certified Professional Guardian Board of the State of Washington. CPG undergo background checks, are finger printed and must adhere to strict rules of conduct in their services to clients. Certified Guardians adhere to the general rules of ethics governing the guardian's role as set forth in the Standards of Practice, which have been formally adopted by the Professional Guardian Certification Board.

What if a person needs more help than they can get at home?

When care at home is no longer possible, the guardian will help find residential services that meet the person's physical, medical and social needs.  Payment sources vary, and may include private funding, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or Veterans Administration funds.