The child (adult male aged 21) of my ex-partner is living with his brother (25). The 21 yr old male is learning disabled and not able to function alone in society. The mother has moved to CA and the father remains in WA but is not willing to support him nor provide any assistance with managing his life. As his former step mother who lived and helped raise him for 16 years, it is my desire to continue to care for him with the legal authority to support him and to make decisions that would benefit his life. How do I go about doing this?
You need to retain a family lawyer who regularly brings actions before the court for a conservatorship/guardianship. You are doing a noble and righteous act and such an attorney will be able to assist you in protecting this person. Best of luck to you.
You make a very logical argument but without having this question posed to an OK lawyer you will only be guessing. It is not a good idea to be handling an estate administration without an estate attorney. For an article entitled Estate & Probate Administration: Do Not Try This On Your Own at the following link http://sjfpc.com/page1.html.
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To get appointed as an adult's legal guardian you need to file a Petition with the court, serve copies on the person who you believe needs a guardian (called the Alleged Incompetent Person) and on anyone else living with him, have a guardian ad litem appointed, and get a hearing date within 60 days. The Petition has to specify whether you are seeking to be the guardian of the Alleged Incompetent Person's person (to take care of their daily physical and medical needs) or of their estate (to take care of their financial affairs) or both.
The guardian ad litem will meet with the Alleged Incompetent Person and get a medical report on them. On the hearing date the Alleged Incompetent Person has to come to the hearing. The guardian ad litem's report will be considered, as will the medical report. If the guardian ad litem and the medical report say a guardian is needed, and the Alleged Incompetent Person doesn't object, then you will likely be appointed as his guardian. After that you have duties as to how you manage his affairs, and have to report back to the court regularly.
If the alleged incompetent person is indigent, then the court will waive the filing fee, and the county will pay for the guardian ad litem. But there will be attorneys' fees which will need to be paid. It can be done fairly inexpensively if the Alleged Incompetent Person does not object.
I would be happy to discuss this with you in more detail if you'd like to call for a free 1/2 consultation.
Joyce Schwensen 206 367 1065
DISCLAIMER: This answer does not constitute legal advice nor does it form an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and responder. You should seek competent legal counsel in your jurisdiction to address any specific legal concerns you have.