Washington Guardianship Attorneys

Port Orchard firm handles situations involving legal authority for children and the elderly

Adults have the legal power to make choices that affect their daily lives. There are instances however where a person might not have the ability to make competent decisions due to age, disability or infirmity. If a risk of harm exists, Washington state courts can appoint a guardian who has the authority and responsibility to act in that person’s best interests. GSJones Law Group, P.S. in Port Orchard has a team of experienced attorneys who provide comprehensive legal support on guardianship matters. Attorney Megan Quirk concentrates on elder law issues, while partners John Groseclose and Norman Short respectively handle the family law and estate planning concerns associated with adult and minor guardianship. 

Guardianship and conservatorship 

Washington state law confers two different forms of legal authority when someone requires assistance. One is guardianship, which relates to decisions regarding someone’s personal care, medical treatment and daily needs. The other is conservatorship, which shifts control of financial and property matters. Often, the same person will act as guardian and conservator. It’s important to remember that courts are careful to transfer only as much control away from an individual as necessary. There might be a situation where an elderly person or someone with mental difficulties requires a conservator to handle estate planning or other sophisticated financial issues but does not need a guardian because they are still capable of meeting their daily personal needs. Courts also can order protective arrangements and supported decision-making arrangements that allow assistance on a more limited basis. 

Port Orchard firm handles situations involving legal authority for children and the elderly

Our elder law attorneys represent prospective guardians and conservators in proceedings involving all types of individuals whose well-being might require legal intervention, such as:

  • Minors — If a child’s parents are deceased or there is clear and convincing evidence that a youth’s parents cannot capably fulfill their responsibilities, an adult guardian can be appointed. Unless the order is reversed, this legal relationship lasts until the youth is 18. The guardian frequently has physical custody and is responsible for handling typical parenting duties.
  • Adults injured in an accident or stricken with a serious illness — A disabling accident or illness might make it impossible for a person to render thoughtful decisions on critical matters. In these situations, a guardianship or conservatorship can be created.
  • Special needs sons and daughters entering adulthood — When people with special needs reach adulthood, they might still require someone to manage their daily care and financial concerns. Depending on the specific circumstances, a conservatorship and/or a guardianship might be warranted. 
  • Elderly people who require care — It can be very difficult to cope with the fact that an elderly loved one can no longer meet their own needs in a safe manner, especially if the proposed ward wants to maintain their independence. We work to collect the evidence necessary to show that a transfer of legal authority is justified. 
  • Victims of nursing home or caregiver abuse — Washington courts can grant Vulnerable Adult Protection Orders if a disabled person or someone 60 or older is facing physical, mental or financial abuse from a caregiver. Should that order not suffice to provide protection, you might want to consider becoming a guardian. 

In some instances, someone might initiate a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding that may not be supported by the facts. Whether you or someone else is the proposed ward in one of these cases, we can intervene to contest the shift of legal authority. 

Contact a Kitsap County attorney to discuss a guardianship or conservatorship 

GSJones Law Group, P.S. in Port Orchard represents Washington State clients in matters relating to the establishment of legal guardianships and conservatorships. For a consultation with an experienced lawyer, please call 360-876-9221 or contact us online.