From Washington

Please read this link and think about your parents, yourself and your friends.

Guardianships have to be banned. You don’t have to be elderly or a disadvantaged child, you may be ill with cancer or even a heart condition, traumatized by the loss of a child, a spouse or a parent.  If you take everything away from someone there is nothing left to live for.

APS petitioned for the guardianship in my grandmother’s case at the request of the assisted living facility that she wanted to move out of. She had a trust, financial POA and a medical POA. I was not notified prior to the state petitioning.

Any person or business can petition to have a guardian appointed for you.

In a guardianship you can lose the following rights:

  • To marry or divorce,
  • To vote or hold an elected office,
  • To appoint someone to act on your behalf and that includes legal representation,
  • To enter into a contract or make or revoke a will,
  • To sue and be sued,
  • To posses a license to drive,
  • To buy, sell, own, mortgage or lease property,
  • To consent to or refuse medical treatment,
  • To decide who shall provide your care and assistance (including your spouse and/or family,
  • To make decisions regarding social aspects of your life including if you are allowed to see friends or family.

An attorney will run you tens of thousands to defend. If you are elderly it is more than likely you will be appointed a guardian. In Washington State, family is basically disqualified and a professional guardian is appointed. There are thousands of guardian horror stories out there. This has to be stopped. In my grandmother’s case she can not go to lunch but her guardian is lunching on her $250,000.

You worried about CPS, now you have APS but it’s your life you are fighting for.

Any person or entity may petition for the appointment of a qualified person, trust company, national bank or nonprofit corporation authorized in RCW 11.88.020 as the guardian or limited guardian of an incapacitated person. No liability for filing a petition for guardianship or limited guardianship shall attach to a petitioner acting in good faith and upon reasonable basis.

By definition an incapacitated person under Washington State Law means a person who is at significant risk of personal or financial harm. Demonstrates the inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing or physical safety and/or the inability to adequately manage property or financial affairs. “Incapacitated” is a legal decision not a medical decision. That means technically my 22 year old is an “incapacitated person” he is not disabled but he is in college studying to become a physician dependent upon his parents and grandparents for health care, housing and handling of financial affairs. So anyone can be judged incapacitated and the older you are the more likely you become dependent on others.

The attorney general may petition for the appointment of a guardian or limited guardian in any case in which there is cause to believe that a guardianship is necessary and no private party is able and willing to petition.

Even if your family doesn’t believe you need a guardian and therefore your not willing, the state can do it anyway.

In one case according to a federal study a taxi driver petitioned for a guardian for an 87 year old man and embezzled $640,000.

Choice of medical treatment, care and decisions are one of the main things you lose. They will not tell grandma the medications she is on and they will not allow her to seek a second opinion.

RCW 11.92.190

Detention of person in residential placement facility against will prohibited – Effect of Court order  – Service of notice of residential placement.

No one will enforce this law. Not DSHS, not the Judge, not the police or the sheriff, not RCI investigations, not our legislators. I am told she loves the dementia ward, I ask “why does she call me everyday begging to get out” the court ordered assessment of her home living with my mother was “home was clean, Aileen appeared well fed, clean and content” she was receiving Gentiva services; physical therapy, occupational therapy, bathing assistance, nursing and nutritional advice. Now she is locked in a dementia ward with no therapy. Her professional guardian thinks it’s good for her, of course he has only been to visit her once in 60 days.

I have been contacting everyone I can to get her out and I can’t. This has to stop.

If you have a disadvantaged child, they already have it covered. Parents of disadvantaged children have been fighting professional guardianships for years, as a parent you no longer have the right to care for your child, protect them and love them. It’s now the guardian’s job and your voice may simply go unheard.

This is very serious if you were worried about Obama care and the death panels, then don’t, they already have the system in place to dictate the care you will receive and when you will die.

It is time to ban guardianships, there has to be a better way to care for our loved ones.

Thank you for your time and attentions.

Dena Schneider
PO Box 1926
Lynnwood WA 98046

Stories of Denial
  • Scott R. Zucker, Esq.

    This is an excellent post. It is very easy to get caught up in the most appropriate estate planning tools to use in each family’s situation without paying attention to the practicalities that may result. Ms. Schneider’s passionate article serves as a wonderful reminder of the barriers that can occur in real life even with the best intentions of state law behind us.

    Thank you,

  • Susanah Jackson

    this just happened to my grandparents their guardian company drained them dry and dumped them in a care facility ,actually they put then in separate care facilities they don’t even get to spend the rest of their lives together. my family and i are wondering how can we fight when we can’t afford a lawyer?

  • Lisa,

    I am sure that tens of thousands of such stories exist nationwide. I am in the midst of one myself and would like to know if there are online support groups focusing on this issue. I would like to hear some success stories regarding suits, ie ward v. Guardian of estate, guardian of person v. Guardian of estate, or family v. Guardian of estate. Guardianships are predatory by nature, vultures by design. When the estate is picked clean like any preditor they seek out their next prey, ideally a fat juicy one that will allow them to continue to live in comfort as they fleece the ward.

  • Deb

    After going through 5 years of WA torture, during which my mother was crippled due to neglect and died prematurely in one of these guardianships–despite my repeated pleas for more care to the courts and APS up to 70 days prior to her injury. The guardian was appointed with false CPG credentials, not appointed according to state law, made repeated false statements in sworn filings, allowed future will beneficiaries to drug and neglect my mother, witnessed a new will disinheriting me and my children at a time when my mother did not know how many children she had (one), what her birthday was, or what her financial assets were! The attorney that helped set up the guardianship had familial business connections with one of the new will beneficiaries. A distant landscaper was used to replace the local one and he set up a new business subsidiary the day after my mother was crippled. (She was supposed to die–she partially recovered after my request to the county prosecutor to pursue charges against the guardian and other parties.) It turned out this landscaper’s daughter was in charge of disbursing funds to the doctor who did biannual physicals on my mother to justify her limited care. (In my case my mother was fully incapacitated but given a false level of competence due to a faulty GAL report I did not receive (as required under state law) until 4 months after creation of the guardianship. And that only because I filed a complaint with the state bar.)

    My point in relating the above is this: if any of you is poor (as I am) and in this situation, be aware that none of your complaints will matter. DSHS APS in WA is under the direct authority of the courts IF a legal case is involved, as in a guardianship. So no complaints to them, the governor or the attorney general will be acted on. If your guardian is a real CPG (certified professional guardian) the court CPG Board SOPC committee will NOT act on your complaint unless a the involved judge or lawyers file one. And the judge annually grants approval to ALL your guardian’s acts. (In my mother’s case, the negligence was so egregious the investigation was delayed for 3 years and then the case dismissed for the aforementioned reasons.) If you file a judicial complaint, the same AOC (administrative office of the courts) that controls the CPG Board will dismiss your complaint, no matter how well founded. If you go to Chief Justice Madsen, who has authority over the AOC, she will politely tell you to get lost, while making clear she has personally looked at NONE of your allegations–probably because many are violations of the law and she would have to act if she acknowledge them.

    If you are currently in such a situation, or just entering one, beware of the new class of guardian created by twisting the law: the unprofessional professional guardian (UPG) which will be represented as a “professional” simply because he or she has more than a certain number of clients. (You can get the same level of training by taking the court online guardian training course.)

    If you manage to get a lawyer, don’t get your hopes up. The court will usually browbeat them into betraying your interests. We managed to scrape together $1000 to get a Port Hadlock lawyer (Knauss) to handle a hearing in which we contested approval of guardian’s actions that were tantamount to perjury and criminal neglect. He postponed the hearing, changed judges to a hostile judge, did not oppose approval of the guardian’s acts, and filed late opposition to a motion to block all information on my mother from me, so it was rejected. In addition, Knauss allowed the court to issue erroneous documents showing my mother was in a full guardianship (which she should have been in) withgout modification of the existing guardianship, which would have allowed the guardian to act as a full guardian but without the fiduciary responsibilit of one! I had to get this corrected myself.

    If there is one thing in my life I could take back it would be moving to Clallam Co.–except for one thing. If you have loved ones in or considering the retirement “haven” of Sequim…beware.