Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Title 11

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Title 11 Guardianship

Revised Code of Washington (RCW 11.88)

RCW 11 requires the Court to appoint a GAL from a registry in a system of consistent rotation.  Family Court Administration maintains the Registry (listed above) and will provide parties the name of the next GAL on the Registry for inclusion in an Order Appointing GAL.  An attorney may be provided 3 names from the list in order to expedite the appointment and facilitate ease in finding an available GAL with the fewest communication, but the attorney shall always attempt to contact the first name provided from the registry. 

The Court does entertain special, out-of-sequence requests for the appointment of a guardian ad litem when the situation requires particular expertise.

Before the Order is signed by a judicial officer, the availability of the GAL to serve on the particular case should be confirmed by the attorney or self-represented parties. 

Please call (360) 709-3295 for the next name on the list.

What to do if you need a Guardian ad Litem appointed

If you need to have a guardian ad litem appointed in a Guardianship case follow these procedures for best result:

      1.  Call Court Administration at (360) 709-3295. They will give you the name and phone number of the next individual in order on the Registry.

      2.  You are responsible for attempting to contact the guardian(s) ad litem to determine their availability to serve as a guardian ad litem. PLEASE do not effect   the appointment of a guardian ad litem until you have spoken with the proposed guardian ad litem and determined his/her availability and identified any conflicts.

      3.  You must phone Court Administration, if the proposed guardian ad litem is unavaliable to accept the case. Court Administration will provide you the name and phone number of the next individual in order on the Registry. (This process will continue until a guardian ad litem accepts your case)

      4.  File your petition with the Clerk's Office.

      5.  Once the court file is established, take the motion and order to any Judicial officer at ex parte to effect the appointment of the guardian ad litem. It is the preferred practice for you to obtain the Judicial officer’s signature after the file is opened with the clerk. There is always a Judicial officer available for ex parte matters at 8:55 am and between 4:00-4:30 pm. For more information about ex parte click here.

      6.  Motions for these civil matters are heard at Family & Juvenile Court on Fridays at 2:00 p.m. on the Probate & Guardianship Calendar. Click here for session availability.

GAL Roles & Responsibilities

A Guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the Court to investigate and report factual information to the Court regarding whether a person is incapacitated to such a degree that he or she cannot care for himself or herself or his or her estate and whether the proposed Guardian would be appropriate. Appointments are made from the Court’s Guardian ad Litem Registry on a rotational basis.

A guardian ad litem personally meets with the alleged incapacitated person, determines whether the person desires or needs to be represented by an attorney, obtains a written report from a medical professional defined by RCW 11.88.045 regarding capacity, consults with others who have information related to the alleged incapacitated person, and meets with the proposed Guardian.

Fees are charged for work done by guardians ad litem. Each guardian ad litem’s rates are posted on the Guardian ad Litem Registry. Public funds are available to pay for a guardian ad litem if the alleged incapacitated person lacks funds or an estate to pay.

Becoming a Guardian ad Litem

The state of Washington requires that all guardians ad litem be trained on a curriculum developed by Washington’s Administrative Office of the Courts.

Minimum Requirements to be a GAL

  • Have completed the King County Bar Association Guardian ad Litem training.  Click here for more information.
  • 8 hours of continuing education related to guardianship work the past 2 years

What to Submit to be a GAL

  • Application found here
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Criminal background check authorization found here
  • Proof of attendance at 8 hours of continuing education related to guardianship work the past 2 years
  • Applications should be submitted to the GAL Registry Coordinator in Court Administration
Information for Guardian ad Litems

Notice to GALs:

Contact Information:
If at any time your information changes, please contact the GAL Registry Coordinator so they can update your information.   Your information must be updated every 2 years from being accepted to the Registry.  The Court requires recertification by February 28th in even numbered years.  You can find the recertification application here.

The Court’s policy requires each GAL on our list to accept one case for payment at public expense each year. The Court pays $50 per hour with a limit of 10 hours without prior approval of the Court.

GALs are expected to be familiar with the Superior Court Rules, with the Local Rules, and with civil procedure. Non-Attorney guardians ad litem should be particularly mindful of timeliness and the requirements of the RCWs.

Guardianship Roundtable

​The Guardianship roundtable which includes attorneys, guardians ad litem, guardians and other interested in this area of practice and meets intermittently throughout the year. If you would like be included on a mailing list, please phone Holly Scott Laukkonen, the Roundtable Chair, at (206) 395-4655 and leave your address and phone number for future announcements.

GAL Registry Coordinator

Click here to send an email to the GAL Registry Coordinator.

Quick Links

Title 11 Guardian ad Litem Handbook

Guardian ad Litem grievance and complaint procedures can be found in the local court rule LGALR 7.