As your parents have gotten older, you have probably observed that they are less able to tackle personal financial matters, perhaps due to memory issues or other cognitive problems. You may believe that at some point you will have to ask a court to approve a guardianship for one or both of your parents.
It is natural to worry that a guardian will have too much power over your parents. Fortunately, the laws of the state of Washington allow for a court to restrict the authority of a guardian.
According to the Washington courts website, state law establishes specific decision-making powers for guardians and conservators. Under a full or plenary guardianship, a guardian will assume all the authority over an adult granted by the law.
For example, this means if a court appoints someone as a full guardian for your parents, the person in question will have the power to make medical decisions for your parents and decide where they live. This might be more authority than you wish to invest in a guardian, however.
If you seek an alternative to a full guardianship, you could petition the court to establish a partial or limited guardianship. Under this kind of arrangement, a court order will spell out the specific authority the guardian will have. For instance, a court order may only give your guardian authority to make medical care decisions for them, while allowing your parents to retain all other rights.
This arrangement helps preserve as much independence as possible for your loved ones. You may rest easier knowing that the guardian for your parents has well-established boundaries.