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Testamentary and temporary guardianships

Kent area parents understand how important it is to care for their children. When parents make plans for their children, they should consider what would happen to the children if the parents unexpectedly pass away.

There are two main types of guardianships. A testamentary guardianship is a person who is designated in a parent's will to care for a child if the parents die. If the guardian named is unable or unwilling to take care of the child, the court will appoint a different guardian. This type of guardian has full control over the person's life, including living arrangements, medical care and financial matters.

There are also limited guardianships in Washington. A limited guardianship is for someone who is capable of taking care of themselves, but are limited in certain areas. Specific decisions can be made by the guardian that may include managing their money or other tasks.

Families who have children or adult children with disabilities should explore their choices for guardianships in Washington. A legal professional skilled in estate planning can help a family draft a plan in case something happens to the parents. Although no one wants to think about a potential unexpected death, planning ahead can make sure a family's wishes are followed if the unthinkable happens. And, if there are disabled children, it is very important to make sure they will be taken care of. Guardianships are required for children who are beneficiaries of a litigation settlement, developmentally delayed adults, incapacitated adults, minor children with no parents and minor children who received an inheritance.

Source:, "Testamentary vs. temporary guardianship", accessed on Jan. 5, 2018

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