Thank you for your interest in our office and our legal services. It is our goal to provide you with professional and efficient legal services. In order to make you more fully aware of the future course of a guardianship, it is important that you have full and complete information regarding the process through which your case will continue until its final conclusion.
Disclaimer: The following overview of the guardianship process is intended for information only and is not intended as a substitute for meeting personally with Gregory L. Davies and getting legal advice regarding your specific matter.
Please visit our website at www.gregorydavieslaw.com for more information about our office and the legal services we provide. When visiting our website please like us on Facebook by clicking on the Facebook icon on our website home page lower right hand corner.
A guardianship can be complex and confusing. Whether you decide to process a guardianship yourself or hire our office to work with you, there is no substitute for proper legal advice to ensure your guardianship is properly prepared, filed, negotiated, and finalized.
What is a guardianship?
A guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a person (guardian) is appointed by a court to manage the affairs of a person who is incapacitated.
A person may be incapacitated due to minority (children under the age of 18 years of age), health reasons (i.e. stroke) or inability to adequately manage property, financial affairs, health or physical safety. This list is not exhaustive.
Who may be a guardian?
A court may appoint a professional guardian or a lay guardian. A lay guardian is someone who is not a professional guardian. Any suitable person over the age of eighteen years, or any parent under the age of eighteen years or, if the petition is for appointment of a professional guardian, any individual or guardianship service that meets any certification requirements established by the administrator for the courts, may, if not otherwise disqualified, be appointed guardian or limited guardian of the person and/or the estate of an incapacitated person. A financial institution subject to the jurisdiction of the department of financial institutions and authorized to exercise trust powers, and a federally chartered financial institution when authorized to do so, may act as a guardian of the estate of an incapacitated person without having to meet the certification requirements established by the administrator for the courts. No person is qualified to serve as a guardian who is (a) under eighteen years of age except as otherwise provided herein; (b) of unsound mind; (c) convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude; (d) a nonresident of this state who has not appointed a resident agent to accept service of process in all actions or proceedings with respect to the estate and caused such appointment to be filed with the court; (e) a corporation not authorized to act as a fiduciary, guardian, or limited guardian in the state; (f) a person whom the court finds unsuitable.
Starting/Filing a Guardianship:
Current Filing Fee:
A Guardianship with assets less than $3,000 no filing fee will be required.
A Guardianship with assets greater than $3,000 is currently $240.00.
A proposed non-professional guardian must complete standardized training made available by the court. The training is done online and is free.
A full guardianship is of the estate (management of the person’s property and finances) and of the person (assessing the person’s physical, mental and emotional needs, and any need for assistance in activities of daily living). The incapacitated person loses the right to make most decisions adults normally make for themselves.
A guardianship that is limited in some way for people who are capable of caring for themselves, or arranging for their care, in some ways but not in others. Guardianships are supposed to be limited in this way, and are not supposed to be broader than necessary to meet the needs resulting from a person’s incapacity. The court order will say what decisions are to be made by the Guardian and what decisions are to be made by the incapacitated person.
Guardian Ad Litem:
A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the alleged incapacitated person, who shall be a person found or known by the court to: (a) Be free of influence from anyone interested in the result of the proceeding; and (b) Have the requisite knowledge, training, or expertise to perform the duties required statute.
A Guardian ad litem’s duties include, but are not limited to (a) meet and consult with the alleged incapacitated person; (b) obtain a professional report regarding the type of disorder or incapacity the alleged incapacitated person is believed to have; and (c) make a written report to the court regarding the guardianship.
Expenses to set up a Guardianship with assets less than $3,000:
If the person for whom a guardianship is sought has very limited means, the county will pay the fee for the Guardian ad litem.
Expenses to set up a Guardianship with assets greater than $3,000:
The major costs of the ordinary guardianship proceeding are the attorney’s fee (for our fees see in “services” “fees” in our website), the fee for the Guardian ad litem (varies); and the fee for the physician’s or psychologist’s report (varies).
Court Hearing to Approve a Guardianship:
A court hearing is required to determine that a guardianship is appropriate; and to determine that the proposed guardian is a suitable person to act; the court will enter an order appointing the guardian and directing Letters of Guardianship be issued.
Letters of Guardianship:
Attorney's Fees and Costs:
Our attorney’s fees are based on an hourly rate along with an estimate of the amount of time we believe it will take to finalize your guardianship case. Our current fees are listed on our website in “Services” under “Fees.” Guarddianship cases that are resolved by agreement or settlement will cost less than ones that are contested and must be resolved by the court.
Note to Do-It-Yourselfers:
If you choose to do your own guardianship, we always recommend you have our office review your paperwork before you file it with the court. We do charge a minimal fee for this review or any other services you request. We also encourage you to consult with our office during the guardianship process as you feel the need. If, at any time, you feel overwhelmed with the guardianship process and doing it yourself we will be ready to take over your representation.
Our office keeps itemized billing records that are created at the same time as specific services provided for your case. This itemized billing statement is provided to you at the end of each month. You should review this billing statement carefully as it is not only a record of our time and charges for your case but also a record of our services provided.
Our office also prepares a written attorney fee agreement for each case. The agreement is signed by you and Gregory L. Davies. The original is kept in our client file and a copy is provided to you.
Thank you for your interest in our office and our legal services. If you have any questions concerning your guardianship case (or any other legal matter), whether you hire our office to work with you or you are processing your guardianship case yourself, please contact our office to set up an appointment to meet with Gregory L. Davies.
To find our find out more about how our law firm can help you with your legal needs, contact Gregory L. Davies, Attorney at Law, in Everett, Washington. Call (425) 259-2755 or email us.