- Law & Justice
- Yakima County Courts
- Superior Court
- Adult Guardianship/Conservatorship
Adult Guardianship/Conservatorship (For Incapacitated Adults)
An incapacitated adult is someone who is incapable of making decisions and/or caring for themselves for a variety of reasons. The Yakima County Superior Court can appoint guardians/conservators for people who lack the capacity to make or communicate decisions because of mental or physical disability. While the goal of guardianship/conservatorship is to protect, people lose many important rights, including the right to vote, the right to drive, the right to decide where they will live, and the right to decide how their money will be used. Yakima County's Superior Court Judicial Officers are committed to keeping Yakima County's vulnerable individuals safe from abuse and exploitation.
A Certified Professional Guardian (CPG). A CPG is an individual or agency that serves as the legal guardian of at least three individuals and provides this service as a profession.
For help finding a certified professional guardian/conservator, visit the Administrative Office of the Courts portal.
Click here for the Court Appointed Attorney/Court Visitor Registry for Adult Guardianships.
GUARDIANSHIP/CONSERVATORSHIP LAW CHANGES EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2022
What happens to the prior laws?
The laws that apply to adult guardianships prior to 2022, RCW 11.88 and RCW 11.92, has been repealed and are no longer in effect as of January 1, 2022. There may be limited circumstances when a court may find that the new law would substantially interfere with a guardianship proceeding or prejudice (influence in a negative way) the rights of a party. The court may consider the prior law in that event.
Are all existing guardianships still in effect under the new law?
Yes. The new law applies to all guardianships as of January 1, 2022, no matter when the current guardianship case was originally entered.
|à||New Law -Effective 1/1/2022|
|Guardian of the Person||à||(no change) Guardian of the Person|
|Guardian of the Estate||à||Conservator|
|Letters of Guardianship||à||Letters of Office|
|Guardian Ad Litem||à||Court Visitor|
What does this mean for You?
- The new adult guardianship/conservatorship and other protective arrangements law became effective on January 1, 2022.
- The 2022 annual reports will be on new forms. These forms must contain all information required by law.
- COVID Policies remain with a few changes.
- New forms are available.
To read the general information sheet produced by the Administrative Office of the Courts and for more information, please click here.
These “How To Instructions” are designed to assist an unrepresented guardian/conservator with standard issues in guardianships/conservatorships. If the guardian/conservator has an attorney of record (filed a Notice of Appearance) only he/she can represent the guardian/conservator and must present all documents.
Additionally, all questions, should be directed to the guardian’s/conservator's attorney. If the guardian/conservator no longer wants the attorney, a Notice of Withdrawal is required to be filed by the guardian’s/conservator's attorney. As an unrepresented guardian/conservator you may want to know "how to" respond to a request from the court or need to set a hearing or petition for instructions, these instructions will set forth the process and let you know the expectations of the court.
This is NOT a substitute for legal advice. Yakima County Court staff cannot give legal advice.
For access to State of Washington approved forms visit their website here. To access the correct forms, click on the directory heading of “Guardianships, Conservatorships, or Other Protective Arrangements”
Find Guardianship/Conservatorship Law Firms
Petition for Guardianship/Conservatorship & Annual Reports
RCW 11.130 will require additional steps to petition for guardianship or to have your annual reports approved.
For Persons Seeking Appointment as Guardians/Conservators
- Proof of Completion of Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) online guardian/conservator training must be filed with the petition to establish guardianship/conservatorship
- All letters of guardianship/conservatorship issued after July 2011 will have an expiration date. In Yakima County this will typically be 120 days after the anniversary date of appointment. Annual reports must be submitted within 90 days of the anniversary date of appointment so the report can be approved before letters expire.
- A Guardianship/conservatorship Summary information form must be included in any Order Appointing Guardian/conservator. If an attorney is representing the petitioner, he/she will prepare this form.
- The following forms must be completed and filed within 90 days from date of guardian appointment:
- Notice of Right to Request Special Notice (Form #25, WPF GDN 04.0800)
For Guardians appointed before January 1, 2022 here are some helpful steps:
- When submitting an annual report (Periodic Personal Care Plan or Guardian's Report and Accounting) a guardian must submit proof of the AOC online training, or submit a Petition and Order waiving training (Form #59A and 59B). (One time only, not required annually).
- After this year's Order Approving Guardian/Conservator Report is signed, take it to the Clerk's Office, Room 323 and have new letters of office reissued.
- A Guardian/conservator Summary must be provided in all Orders Approving Report & Accounting and Care Plans. To view approved State of Washington forms visit their website here.
Guardianship/Conservatorship Monitoring Program
What is a Guardian?
A guardian is a person appointed by the court to make healthcare and other mostly non-monetary decisions for someone who cannot make these types of decisions because of an injury, illness, or disability.
When may a court appoint a guardian for an adult?
A court may appoint a guardian for an adult when the adult is unable to meet their basic needs for physical health, safety, or self-care. The Court would have to determine that the adult is unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions, even with support or assistance. There must be a significant risk of harm to the adult unless a guardian is appointed. If the adult's needs can be met in other ways, the court may not appoint a guardian.
What is a Conservator?
A conservator is a person appointed by the court to take care of someone's finances when he or she cannot make these types of decisions because of an illness, injury, or disability.
When may a court appoint a conservator for an adult?
A court may appoint a conservator for an adult when the adult is unable to manage their property or financial affairs. Once circumstance is if the adult is unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions, even with support or assistance. Another reason may be is the adult is missing, detained, or unable to return to the United States.
There must be significant risk of harm to the adult or their property unless a conservator is appointed. Another possibility is if a conservator is needed to obtain or provide funds or other property for the adult's support, care, education, health, or welfare. A conservator may also be needed to obtain or provide funds for the adult's legal dependents (such as minor children).
Where do I obtain guardianship/conservator forms?
Please see the Forms page for information.
For access to State of Washington approved forms visit their website here.
Can guardianship/conservatorship documents/reports be submitted to the court by regular mail, fax, or email?
The Court requires original signatures; therefore documents/reports must be mailed to:
Yakima County Courthouse
128 N 2nd Street
Yakima, WA 98901
Or if you are delivering forms in person please file a copy with the clerk and deliver a copy to the Court Administrator's Office, Room 314, on the 3rd Floor of the County Courthouse.
Do I need an attorney to complete and file guardianship/conservator paperwork?
It is not required that you have an attorney. However, court employees are not allowed to give legal advice or answer any legal questions. Instructions for filing guardianship/conservatorship are available online for your use.
Can I get an extension on my report due date?
Yes. Please see the Forms page.
I received a noncompliance notice and/or show cause order, what do I do?
If you submit the required document(s)/reports that are past due, the noncompliance notice will be canceled. If you were ordered to appear at a show cause hearing you should appear in court.
How do I get a copy of a document from the court file?
You can purchase copies of filed documents in the Superior Court County Clerk’s Office, Room 323 of the County Courthouse. You can visit the clerks page here for more information and fill out the form to request the documents to you need.
Where do I get the list of approved Title 11 Court Visitor (CV) or how can I be added to the registry?
For a list of approved Title 11 CV for adult guardianship/conservatorship, contact the Superior Court Admin office at 509.574.2710 or by email at Superior.Court@co.yakima.wa.us
Where do I go to file a guardianship/conservatorship action?
To file a guardianship/conservatorship; please take your completed forms and any required fees to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Room 323 of the County Courthouse.
What is a Court Visitor (CV)?
A Court Visitor (CV) is an adult who is appointed by the court to represent the best interests of an individual for a specific purpose for a specific period of time. Under the direction of the court, a CV performs an investigation and prepares a report for the court of their findings and recommendations. To become a CV, an individual must complete an approved training program, provide background information to the court(s) in which the CV wishes to serve, and meet all eligibility requirements set by local court rule or policy.
The role of the CV is to represent the best interest of the individuals subject to guardianship/conservatorship by making independent observations of the or individual subject to guardianship/conservatorship and make a report to the court.
CV is different from a Certified Professional Guardian (CPG). A CPG is an individual or agency who serves as the legal guardian/conservator of at least three individuals and provides this service as a profession.
How is a CV appointed?
When the need arises for the appointment of a CV in a case involving a subject area for which there is a registry, the Court shall appoint a person from the registry on a rotational basis. In exceptional circumstances where the Court finds a need for specialized skills or training, the Court may appoint a CV out of rotational order or may appoint a person not listed on the registry. The Court must make written findings supporting such an appointment.
- Governing statutes are found in RCW 11.130
Can I file a complaint against my guardian or conservator?
You can file a complaint about guardianship/conservatorship or a guardian/conservator if you don't have a lawyer. To do so, you can print out the Guardianship/Conservatorship Complaint form and fill it out, or you can complete the form electronically. The form provided is optional and you may write a letter - either way, your complaint goes to the court.