Guardianship, Probate, Trusts and Wills

The Guardianship laws in Washington have changed. Please see the New Guardian Laws Poster for changes in Washington's Guardianship laws. For mandatory guardianship training and information please visit: http://www.courts.wa.gov/layguardiantraining.


  • What is Clark County's Guardianship Monitoring Program

The Clark County Guardianship Monitoring Program is committed to keeping incapacitated people safe from abuse and exploitation. The program was implemented to monitor guardian's handling of the care and financial affairs of incapacitated citizens. For the mandatory Guardianship training go to http://www.courts.wa.gov/layguardiantraining.

  • What is a Guardianship?

The court appoints guardians for people who lack the capacity to make or communicate decisions. The purpose of a guardian is to protect the well being of a person with a mental or physical disability that otherwise would not be able to take care of themselves.

  • What is a Probate?

After someone's death, their money and property (called an estate) must be distributed to their heirs. When supervised by the courts, this process is called probate. Probate is not always necessary, but in some situations, probate may be required. Probate may be preferable when you must pay debts , claims or taxes, of if you anticipate disagreement over division of the estate.

  • What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that determines what happens to your property after your death. A will states who receives property and in what amounts. Property distributed under the terms of the will become the probate estate. in addition to distribution or transferring property, a will may have other functions such as to name a guardian for any minor children or to create a trust on behalf of children or others.

  • Will Repository

The Clerk's Office offers a will repository service. RCW 11.12.265 allows the filing of an original will with the court, under seal, before the death of the testator. The fee for this service is $20.00 per will or codicil as set by RCW 36.18.016(28).   The will may be withdrawn by the testator upon showing of proper identification. Any other person, such as an attorney or Guardian, may withdraw the original will only with a court order after showing of good cause. Upon request and presentation of a certified copy of the testator’s death certificate, the Clerk’s Office will unseal the file. If a probate file is opened at that time, the full filing fee must be charged per RCW 36.18.020(2)(f).

Forms and Additional Resources

Pattern forms available at: Court Forms page

Additional Guardianship forms can be found on the King County Guardianship Forms website: Please remember to change caption heading to Clark County Superior court King County Guardianship Forms