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John Lutgens, Attorney at Law
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360-693-2119

Vancouver Contested Guardianship Attorney

Planning for your future, and for the future of your family, requires careful consideration of any financial hardships you or your loved ones may experience. That is the purpose of estate planning: Getting your affairs in order so that you are not taken by surprise if something unfortunate happens.

Guardianship is one route to ensure that your assets or those of a loved one are protected. Guardianship allows for the state of Washington to establish a legal caretaker for someone who, as the result of a physical or mental disability caused by age, genetics, injury or illness, is incapable of caring for their own affairs and finances. Guardians manage the daily affairs of their wards and can make decisions regarding medical care and finances. Ideally, the disabled or incapacitated person will consent to the guardianship arrangement or, due to incapacity, raise no objection. In such circumstances the court will simply determine whether the incapacity is sufficient to necessitate a guardianship, whether the proposed guardian is an appropriate candidate, as well as the boundaries and responsibilities of the guardianship relationship.

But, the subject of a guardianship proceeding may not wish to have a guardian appointed. They may find the concept demeaning and a violation of their freedom. If someone objects, the Washington court will have to determine whether the objection is valid and whether the proposed guardianship is appropriate. If you are facing the prospect of a contested guardianship, or if you believe there is a problem with a proposed guardianship arrangement for a loved one and you wish to object, a dedicated and compassionate Vancouver guardianship attorney can help. Contested guardianship lawyer John Lutgens is ready to represent you and your family through the guardianship contest process in order to help you ensure the best outcome for yourself and your loved ones.

What is Contested Guardianship?

A contested guardianship is a guardianship proceeding in which some interested party objects to the guardianship relationship for one reason or another. All guardianship proceedings involve the court appointing a guardian ad litem to conduct a complete evaluation of the proposed ward to determine if the person is in fact incapacitated and to evaluate whether the proposed guardian is a good fit. The court will notify the proposed ward, who has the right to appear in court, to object to the guardianship or the proposed guardian, to retain an attorney to defend against the proposed guardianship and to argue for less restrictive alternatives.

If the subject of the proposed guardianship does not believe that the guardianship is necessary or does not approve of the proposed guardian, then they can bring their concerns to the guardianship hearing. Adult or elderly subjects may find the concept of a guardianship demeaning, believing themselves capable of handling their own affairs. The subject may believe that they are capable of making their own decisions or may object to the loss of so many of their rights and freedoms including the right to marry or divorce, to vote, to sue or be sued other than through the guardian, etc. In such a case, the guardianship is contested.

The subject can bring a lawyer to the proceedings to argue on their behalf, advocating either that they have full capacity and do not need the guardianship or that the proposed guardianship is too onerous for their level of incapacity. For instance, they may only need someone who can help them make financial decisions or who will make medical decisions if they are in a temporary incapacitated state, but they may want to retain the right to make other legal decisions on their own behalf without having to secure the approval of a guardian. Courts have the power to appoint limited guardians and will take into account the wishes of the subject in determining the scope of a guardian’s powers. Guardianships are meant to be only as broad as necessary for the subject and the given circumstances; courts do not wish to grant wide guardianship control over a person who does not need it.

Relatives and other interested parties can also raise concerns about a proposed guardianship. If, for example, they do not believe that the proposed guardian is qualified, or during the guardianship period someone believes the guardian is acting inappropriately, then they may petition the court to have the guardianship modified or removed. A court may modify or terminate a guardianship at any time after the guardianship has been established for “any good reason.” If you are concerned about a proposed or current guardianship arrangement for yourself or a loved one, a compassionate Washington guardianship attorney can help.

Call Vancouver Attorney John Lutgens for Help with a Guardianship in Washington

For seasoned, dedicated, and trustworthy help establishing a Washington guardianship, contact Vancouver guardianship lawyer John Lutgens for a free consultation at 360-693-2119.

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