11.88.115  <<  11.88.120 >>   11.88.125

Modification or termination of guardianshipProcedure.

*** CHANGE IN 2019 *** (SEE 5604-S2.SL) ***
(1)(a) At any time after establishment of a guardianship or appointment of a guardian, the court may, upon the death of the guardian or limited guardian, or, for other good reason, modify or terminate the guardianship or replace the guardian or limited guardian or modify the authority of a guardian or limited guardian. Such action may be taken based on the court's own motion, based on a motion by an attorney for a person or entity, based on a motion of a person or entity representing themselves, or based on a written complaint, as described in this section. The court may grant relief under this section as it deems just and in the best interest of the incapacitated person. For any hearing to modify or terminate a guardianship, the incapacitated person shall be given reasonable notice of the hearing and of the incapacitated person's right to be represented at the hearing by counsel of his or her own choosing.
(b) The court must modify or terminate a guardianship when a less restrictive alternative, such as a power of attorney or a trust, will adequately provide for the needs of the incapacitated person. In any motion to modify or terminate a guardianship with a less restrictive alternative, the court should consider any recent medical reports; whether a condition is reversible; testimony of the incapacitated person; testimony of persons most closely related by blood, marriage, or state registered domestic partnership to the incapacitated person; testimony of persons entitled to notice of special proceedings under RCW 11.92.150; and other needs of the incapacitated person that are not adequately served in a guardianship or limited guardianship that may be better served with a less restrictive alternative. All motions under the provisions of this subsection (1)(b) must be heard within sixty days unless an extension of time is requested by a party or a guardian ad litem within such sixty-day period and granted for good cause shown. An extension granted for good cause should not exceed an additional sixty days from the date of the request of the extension, and the court must set a new hearing date.
(2)(a) An unrepresented person or entity may submit a complaint to the court. Complaints must be addressed to one of the following designees of the court: The clerk of the court having jurisdiction in the guardianship, the court administrator, or the guardianship monitoring program, and must identify the complainant and the incapacitated person who is the subject of the guardianship. The complaint must also provide the complainant's address, the case number (if available), and the address of the incapacitated person (if available). The complaint must state facts to support the claim.
(b) By the next judicial day after receipt of a complaint from an unrepresented person, the court's designee must ensure the original complaint is filed and deliver the complaint to the court.
(c) Within fourteen days of being presented with a complaint, the court must enter an order to do one or more of the following actions:
(i) To show cause, with fourteen days' notice, directing the guardian to appear at a hearing set by the court in order to respond to the complaint;
(ii) To appoint a guardian ad litem to investigate the issues raised by the complaint or to take any emergency action the court deems necessary to protect the incapacitated person until a hearing can be held;
(iii) To dismiss the complaint without scheduling a hearing, if it appears to the court that the complaint: Is without merit on its face; is filed in other than good faith; is filed for an improper purpose; regards issues that have already been adjudicated; or is frivolous. In making a determination, the court may review the matter and consider previous behavior of the complainant that is documented in the guardianship record;
(iv) To direct the guardian to provide, in not less than fourteen days, a written report to the court on the issues raised in the complaint;
(v) To defer consideration of the complaint until the next regularly scheduled hearing in the guardianship, if the date of that hearing is within the next three months, provided that there is no indication that the incapacitated person will suffer physical, emotional, financial, or other harm as a result of the court's deferral of consideration;
(vi) To order other action, in the court's discretion, in addition to doing one or more of the actions set out in this subsection.
(d) If after consideration of the complaint, the court believes that the complaint is made without justification or for reason to harass or delay or with malice or other bad faith, the court has the power to levy necessary sanctions, including but not limited to the imposition of reasonable attorney fees, costs, fees, striking pleadings, or other appropriate relief.
(3) The court may order persons who have been removed as guardians to deliver any property or records belonging to the incapacitated person in accordance with the court's order. Similarly, when guardians have died or been removed and property or records of an incapacitated person are being held by any other person, the court may order that person to deliver it in accordance with the court's order. Disobedience of an order to deliver is punishable as contempt of court.
(4) The administrative office of the courts must develop and prepare, in consultation with interested persons, a model form for the complaint described in subsection (2)(a) of this section and a model form for the order that must be issued by the court under subsection (2)(c) of this section.
(5) The board may send a grievance it has received regarding an active guardian case to the court's designee with a request that the court review the grievance and take any action the court deems necessary. This type of request from the board must be treated as a complaint under this section and the person who sent the complaint must be treated as the complainant. The court must direct the clerk to transmit a copy of its order to the board. The board must consider the court order when taking any further action and note the court order in any final determination.
(6) In any court action under this section that involves a professional guardian, the court must direct the clerk of the court to send a copy of the order entered under this section to the board.
(7) The definitions in this subsection apply throughout this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(a) "Board" means the certified professional guardianship board.
(b) "Complaint" means a written submission by an unrepresented person or entity, who is referred to as the complainant.

NOTES:

Findings2017 c 271: "The legislature finds that an incapacitated person should retain basic rights enjoyed by the public, including the freedom of associating with family and friends. A court or guardian should not remove or restrict the rights of an incapacitated person under a guardianship except when absolutely necessary to protect the incapacitated person. The legislature finds that less restrictive alternatives are preferred to guardianships and limited guardianships when they provide adequate support for an incapacitated person's needs. The legislature also recognizes that less restrictive alternatives are typically less expensive to administer than a guardianship, thereby preserving state resources, court resources, and the incapacitated person's estate. A less restrictive alternative may be in the form of a power of attorney, or a trust, or other legal, financial, or medical directives that allow an incapacitated person to enjoy a greater degree of individual liberty and decision making than for persons under a guardianship." [ 2017 c 271 § 1.]
Effective date1990 c 122: See note following RCW 11.88.005.
Severability1977 ex.s. c 309: See note following RCW 11.88.005.
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