Right to counsel

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Legislation, Guardianship/Conservatorship of Adults - Protected Person

Under Wash. Rev. Code § 11.88.045(1)(a), alleged incapacitated individuals are entitled to be represented by counsel of their own choosing at any stage in guardianship proceedings. The court must provide counsel to represent any alleged incapacitated person at public expense when: (i) the individual is unable to afford counsel; (ii) the expense of counsel would result in substantial hardship to the individual; or (iii) the individual does not have practical access to funds with which to pay counsel. If the individual can afford counsel but lacks practical access to funds, the court must provide counsel and may impose a reimbursement requirement as part of a final order. The statute also specifies that “When, in the opinion of the court, the rights and interests of an alleged or adjudicated incapacitated person cannot otherwise be adequately protected and represented, the court on its own motion shall appoint an attorney at any time to represent such person.” Counsel must also be appointed when the appointed guardian seeks to take certain steps, such as providing informed consent for health care.  Wash. Rev. Code § 11.92.043(5) ("The court may order the procedure only after an attorney is appointed in accordance with RCW 11.88.045 if no attorney has previously appeared, notice is given, and a hearing is held in accordance with RCW 11.88.040").

Appointment of Counsel: categorical Qualified: no