SB 5788
C 243 L 22
Synopsis as Enacted
Brief Description: Concerning guardianship of minors.
Sponsors: Senators Pedersen, Padden, Dhingra and Lovick.
Senate Committee on Law & Justice
House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary

In 2019, the Legislature adopted the Uniform Guardianship, Conservatorship, and other Protective Arrangements Act (UGA).  Existing laws on state guardianship were replaced by the UGA.  Existing law on nonparental actions for child custody were also repealed by the UGA.


Basis for Appointment of a Guardian for a Minor.  A person becomes a guardian for a minor only on appointment by the court.  A court may appoint a guardian for a minor if the court finds the appointment is in the minor's best interest, and:

  • the parents consent, after being fully informed of the nature and consequences of guardianship;
  • all parental rights have been terminated; or
  • the court finds by clear and convincing evidence the parents are unwilling or unable to exercise their parental rights and a visitor must ascertain whether the parents consent to the appointment of a guardian for a minor. 

The following provisions of law related to a minor guardianship are changed:

  • an emergency guardian may be appointed on motion when a petition for a minor guardianship is filed;
  • a juvenile court shall have concurrent jurisdiction with a probate court over minor guardianship proceedings;
  • minor guardianship cases are exempt from court rules requiring attendance at parenting seminars;
  • cross references to repealed provisions of non-parental actions for child custody are corrected;
  • the definition of a guardianship ad litem means a person appointed to inform the court about or represent the needs and best interests of a minor;
  • the parties, and not the court, are responsible for confirming the accuracy of required financial disclosures;
  • the release of required investigative information is applied for all proposed guardians and all adult members of any proposed guardian's household; and
  • the court shall appoint a person nominated as guardian by a parent of the minor in a probated will or other record unless the court finds the appointment is contrary to the best interest of the minor; and any other record must be a declaration or other sworn document and may include a power of attorney or other sworn statement as to the care, custody, or control of the minor child.
Votes on Final Passage:
Senate 49 0
House 97 1 (House amended)
Senate 48 1 (Senate concurred)

June 9, 2022

January 1, 2023 (Section 4)