Adult guardianship

General information

Guardianship involves the court appointing someone to make decisions for another person about their health and welfare such as their living situation or medical care because the other person is not capable of managing their own affairs. Conservatorship involves the court appointing someone to handle the finances and property issues of another person who cannot manage their own affairs. Sometimes both of these are necessary and sometimes only one is necessary. The process is the same whether you are asking for only guardianship, only conservatorship, or both.

Adult guardianship laws changed effective January 1, 2022. If you have a guardianship that was in place prior to that date, or want to learn more about the new law, the Administrative Office of the Courts has information about the transition to the new laws.

Forms and instructions

Washington state's official mandatory pattern forms for adult guardianship, conservatorship, or other protective arrangements cases are on the State Court website.

Checklists and instructions that may be a helpful addition to the official court forms:

The law library has some specialized forms for Clark County that apply to specific circumstances after a case is filed.

If there are problems with the guardianship, conservatorship, or other protective arrangement:

Self-help guardianship/conservatorship kits from King County

The Clark County Law Library does not currently sell self-help guardianship kits. If you have questions about either of the kits below, please contact the King County Law Library. Clark County law librarians cannot help you decide if another county's kit is the correct one for your situation.

The King County Law Library has kits for either regular guardianship/conservatorship of an adult or emergency guardianship/conservatorship of an adult. While these kits are based on state laws, they are designed for King County and include local rules and forms for that county.

There are some differences in local forms and procedures in Clark County, so you need to customize or obtain forms or modify procedures to remove information related to King County rules and to comply with local court rules for Clark County. You should consult with an attorney if you have any questions about the process or how to customize the forms within the kit.

Additional resources

Resources that are available from the State Court include:

The Family and Volunteer Guardian's Handbook answers some questions about the process. It was written for the prior law but offers some valuable general information.

The Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program has a program to assist you with a guardianship if the person in need of guardianship meets the income qualifications. They can be reached at 360.695.5313.