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JD 1992
JD 1992, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 33399
Experience:  Began practicing Family Law in 1992
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I have a sister, who is 72 years old, and has been a

Customer Question

I have a sister, who is 72 years old, and has been a resident of Rainier School in Washington State for 68 years. My dad is deceased, but our mother is alive, 95 years old, with vascular dementia. She was the legal guardian of Donna until she quit filling out paperwork in 2008 and then in 2011 was no longer considered the legal guardian. I am Donna's sister. I am 70. I would like to be involved in her life as a personal guardian, but I dont want to get stuck with financial responsibilities. The state has paid for her care completely these last 68 years. But the state is requiring Rainier School to move residents into group homes. I would like to see Donna moved to a location close to where I live so i can be more involved in her life. What are the pros and cons of being a guardian. I don't want to set up a situation where the state decides not to pay for her and suddenly I have full responsibility financially for her care. Should I stay away from being a legal guardian?
JA: Because education law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Washington State
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?
Customer: no. We are thinking we should do that.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Will the lawyer you are connecting me talk to me by email or by telephone?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  JD 1992 replied 9 months ago.

Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

Expert:  JD 1992 replied 9 months ago.

It will take a few minutes for me to put together this answer. As soon as I finish it I will send it in this thread.

Expert:  JD 1992 replied 9 months ago.

The main thing against entering into a guardianship is that you take on certain duties which must be attended to even before your regular duties. This includes caring for the ward, making sure her bills are paid, etc. You will have to occasionally use a lawyer for a hearing, and you have to prepare reports to the court at least once a year and sometimes more than that outlining the condition both of the ward physically as well as their estate.

You will be required, in most cases, to post a bond. You can usually get that from a local independent insurance agent, and the estate of the ward pays the costs of the bond.

A guardianship can also cause issues between family members if some of you think one thing should be done while others believe a different course of action is the correct one.

You would only be responsible for the ward's debts if you sign to personally guarantee them.

As to the pros, the number one benefit is that you will be sure that the ward is cared for and that no one is taking advantage of them.

If the state should suddenly withdraw all aid then the burden would fall to you to care for her or to find more aid. However, it is unusual for someone in a situation like this to lose their aid. The only time it happens is if they come into some additional money through inheritance or a car wreck or something like that. However, there is a very easy way to handle any money that the ward is about to get which will prevent them from losing their government benefits. It is known as a special needs trust and if the time eve comes when the ward is going to get extra money you can visit with your local lawyer and they can show you how to use that trust to benefit the ward while at the same time keeping all aid in place.

That is all I can think of off the top of my head. If you have follow up questions, please feel free to ask them in this thread.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow up questions in this thread. I want to be sure that all of your questions are answered.