Mental illness and physical limitations can be extremely debilitating to an individual and to a business. Especially when a businesses demand and require so much of their owners in small business settings. The ability to operate, manage, and make sounds decisions is key in life and in business.
Generally, a guardianship in Washington State can be ordered when one is in significant risk of personal harm based upon a demonstrated inability to adequately provide nutrition, health, housing, or physical safety. Alternatively or in addition if that person poses a significant risk of financial harm based upon a demonstrated inability to adequately manage property or financial affairs, a guardianship in Washington State can also be ordered by the court. For more information on guardianships visit Washington Court’s portal at http://www.courts.wa.gov/guardianportal/.
When a business owner begins experiencing the kinds of limitations discussed above, what happens is people start second guessing the owner, including, employees, vendors, clients, customers, and family. If there are multiple business owners, they could help pick up the slack and cover for the business owner, but then that behavior starts to tax the business, which can cause resentment. In one instance, I had a client in the Seattle area who operated a family business and one of the family members was an owner. That owner was experiencing mental illness and could not control his moods and drug abuse. Ultimately, the other family members/business owners asked that member to stop coming to the office. The mentally ill owner was a drag on the business because he could not contribute work, resources, or financially to the business until he was treated for his illness. The remaining family members/owners sought a guardianship from the court.
In Washington State and the greater Seattle area, you can begin this process on your own. The Washington state court system has a website with the forms required. However, you areprobably best served by discussing this with an experienced business law attorney in Seattle or in Washington State who handles guardianships. The process can be confusing and it involves several court appearances and filings that must be done correctly or could risk not having a guardian appointed.
Ideally, you want to avoid these issues all together. In that case if you are ahead of these issues, you may be able to prevent some of these issues with a durable power of attorney. However, if it is too late, it’s probably better to seek a guardianship.
An experienced business law attorney can be extremely insightful in the guardianship process in Washington State and the Seattle area because measures can be taken immediately to rectify situations, trouble shoot, and prevent bigger issues from occurring down the road. Seek experienced business counsel who has the experience and understanding of the operations of a business, not just knowledge or text book and theory. Seattle area business law firm, Rhodes Legal Group, PLLC provides guardianships for businesses in Washington State. E-mail them with your business law questions.
Guardianships in the Seattle area and Washington state are not reserved for only business law matters. Guardianships in Washington state extend to the person as well when there is a risk of significant harm to the person through a demonstrated inability to care for themselves personally or financially. For a closer look at guardianships, types, and the process, visit Washington State Court’s portal for guardianships. The portal provides an in depth look and description of guardianships in Washington State and what they entail. For the opinion of an experienced guardianship attorney in Washington State, contact our attorneys.
Rhodes Legal Group, PLLC is a Seattle area based criminal and civil law firm. Rhodes Legal Group handles matters ranging from business law, criminal, administrative, civil, and guardianships.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Kwan is an experienced business law attorney based in Seattle, Washington with over 25 years of business experience. For more information on Mr. Kwan’s attorney page.