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Guardianship FAQ
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The Guardianship Information And Answers You Need

It can be hard to recognized that our parents or elderly loved ones are no longer able to care for themselves and need our help. But when this happens, you do have options and resources. At Brothers & Henderson, P.S., in Seattle, our team of attorneys offers skilled guidance, unmatched professionalism and an uncommon concern and compassion for your situation. We provide answers to your questions and the information you need to make the best decisions based on your goals and situation. Call 206-536-2446 to speak with a member of our team.

Here are the most common concerns we hear and some guidance on them:

Which legal rights are affected by a guardianship?

A guardianship is over both a person and that person’s estate. This means a guardian has the right to manage both the financial and health care decisions for that person. Though every guardianship is different, some of the affected rights could include whether the person can manage their money, buy and sell property, get married or divorced, vote, make health care decisions on their own or drive. For a more detailed answer that is relevant to your specific situation, call and speak with one of our guardianship attorneys.

What’s the difference between power of attorney and guardianship?

Power of attorney (POA) is drawn up in advance and designates someone to handle your finances (financial POA) and health care decisions (health care POA or health care proxy) if you become unable to do so yourself. Guardianships happen when a person needs help, but either no POA has been set up or the POA arrangement isn’t working because the person is noncompliant. Setting up a guardianship requires demonstrating that the person is at imminent risk of harm. This is a more complex process than setting up a POA, and it most often requires the guidance of an attorney who provides guardianship services.

If you have POA, do you need a guardianship?

No. The point of POA is to never need a guardianship. There are some instances in which a person is not complying with the power of attorney. In that case, a guardianship may be required.

If I have a POA but it isn’t working (someone isn’t complying because of dementia, for example), is guardianship an option?

If less restrictive options aren’t working, then yes, pursue a guardianship to safeguard the physical and financial health of the elderly or mentally compromised person.

Get Information, Advice And Peace Of Mind

Set up a time with us to discuss your legal concerns. We offer accessible advice, guidance and representation for elder law, estate litigation and guardianship issues. Call 206-536-2446 or send an email to the firm. Located in Seattle, we serve clients throughout Washington state.

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