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What does it take to become the legal guardian of an adult with disabilities

Spanaway, WA |

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?

Attorney Answers 2


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

Hope this helps. Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is . For further tax advice visit his website at . and blog at >

LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is <> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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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.

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