About Us

The Guardian Institute provides support to lay and professional guardians, and to individuals under guardianship.We develop solutions to meet the need for guardians for our very low income incapacitated individuals who have no family or friends and do not have funds to pay for professional guardianship services.

Studies show that many individuals with disabilities have been abused in some way during their lifetime and need an advocate.

With our aging population, the elderly are increasingly vulnerable to abuse and financial exploitation. These individuals need advocacy and competent oversight to stay as safe and as independent as possible.

The Guardian Institute stands ready to help those who help our most vulnerable.


26th April 2023

time iconApril 26, 2023 08:00

Ethical Standards in Adult Guardianship

speaker headshot

Heather Connors
President, National Guardianship Association

No one wants to be perceived as unethical. Guardians and Conservators must understand key actions to take and actions to avoid in order to make effective decisions that are obviously ethical, easily explained, and clearly justified, when needed. In this presentation, Heather will bring to life the 21 NGA Standards of Practice that Guardians and Conservators should know and use.

time iconApril 26, 2023 09:15

Mental Health in Post-COVID Times

speaker headshot

Maureen Carol
Crisis Stabilization Counselor, Sound Health

Covid changed so much in the day to day lives of everyone! The session will
be a collaborative time to learn about changes in:
1. Service delivery. Ie Telehealth, limits on the mental health system due to
resource shortages. Includes pharmaceutical and staff shortages.
2. Changes in the ITA or involuntary treatment order in the WAC related to
timeliness of assessments, length of stay, court appearances.
3. Share techniques and tips for dealing with our own “fallout” from Covid
while supporting clients
time iconApril 26, 2023 10:30

Conservators & Their Role in Representing Clients in Litigation

speaker headshot

Robert Nettleton
Attorney, Harlowe & Falk

speaker headshot

Daniel Smerken
CPG & Principal, Smerken Consulting Eldercare Services

The session will address the civil litigation process and the conservator's role when representing a client. The material will be presented as a case study involving the financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, the role of the conservator, their attorney, and other entities such as APS, Law Enforcement, the prosecuting attorney, and the Court.

time iconApril 26, 2023 11:30


11:30am to 12:30pm

time iconApril 26, 2023 12:30

Supporting Individual’s self-determination for supportive decision making

speaker headshot

Mary Schobe
CPG & Principal, Northwest Fiduciary Solutions

The standard for guardians and conservators when it comes to decision-making is to make them based on the Individual’s preferences, opinions, values and actions. During this session, the presenter will share and discuss strategies, useful tools and examples of complexities when it comes to determining an individual’s preferences and how best to incorporate supported decision-making principles into your daily practice. 

time iconApril 26, 2023 13:45

What Professional Fiduciaries Should Know About the Limits of an Individual’s Rights to Terminate Life-Sustaining Treatment

speaker headshot

Neil Sarles
Attorney, Law Office of Neil Sarles

will be discussing topics related to end-of-life decisions and healthcare directives, including the common law and constitutional right to withdraw life-sustaining treatment, the right to refuse life-sustaining treatment for competent individuals, refusal of curative treatment, and various healthcare directives and powers of attorney, such as the POLST. Attendees can expect to learn more about their legal rights and options for end-of-life care planning.

time iconApril 26, 2023 15:00

Guardian, “Who Wants to Be a Guardian-aire?”

speaker headshot

Leah Rathwell
CPG, Bridge Builders, LLC

“Who Wants to be a Guardian-aire“ is a different take on the classic gameshow, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. It is designed to be a fun way to test your knowledge to the new laws and other guardianship topics.  The questions will start fairly simple and get more challenging as the session progresses.   

25th April 2023

time iconApril 25, 2023 07:45

Finding Your Voice: The ABC’s of Legislative Advocacy

speaker headshot

Amanda Wilson
Attorney, Northwest Estate Planning & Probate

speaker headshot

Joe Cunningham
Public affairs consultant with a state and federal lobbying practice,

Category:  Emerging Issues

In addition to discussing potential upcoming legislation, I will provide a hands-on advocacy training that helps legal practitioners transform their passion and legal experience into skillful advocacy on guardianship and related issues.  I will provide links to testify, telling a compelling story that is inspiring and makes an “ask” in 90 seconds; Writing an effective email, making an elevator speech and making an impactful phone call; and orchestrating a successful meeting with an elected official. 

time iconApril 25, 2023 09:15

Home & Community Services’ Approach to Accessing Long-Term Services & Supports from a Client-Centered Model Category: General

speaker headshot

Sarah Tremblay
Guardianship Program Manager, Aging and Long-Term Support Administration

This presentation will provide a systematic overview of DSHS Home and Community Service’s approach to addressing client consent and related decision-making concerns to support Medicaid clients’ ability to access long-term services and support (LTSS).

Specifically, this presentation will cover the various community collaborative efforts underway, the multi-tiered escalation pathway, and the new HCS Guardianship Pilot Project available to support Medicaid clients in addressing such concerns impacting their accessibility to long-term support and services.  This presentation will conclude with an explanation of the purpose, client eligibility criteria, referral process, and contractor onboarding procedures for the new HCS Guardianship Pilot Project. 

time iconApril 25, 2023 10:30

Public Health Emergency

In this session, we will discuss the potential impact of the end of the Public Health Emergency (PHE) on long-term care (LTC) clients. As guardians and conservators, it is important to understand the changes that may occur and how they could affect the care and financial well being of our clients. We will explore the possible scenarios and provide insights into how to best prepare for the transition out of the PHE.

time iconApril 25, 2023 11:30


11:30am to 12:30pm

time iconApril 25, 2023 12:30

View from the Bench: Problems Guardians Encounter

speaker headshot

Judge Robert Lewis
Superior Court Judge, Clark County

The session will discuss common issues raised in guardianship review hearings. Topics include complaints routinely heard from both those served by guardians and by their families and loved ones. The focus will be on how communication and proper documentation can avoid some of these issues.

time iconApril 25, 2023 13:45

Queer and Trans-affirmative practices

speaker headshot

Sam 정우 (Jungwoo) Choi
Lead Trainer, Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center

speaker headshot

Kai Horton
Executive Director, Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center

Join Kai (they/them) & sam (he/him) from Seattle's LGBTQ+ Center for a session that explores how to integrate queer and trans- affirmative practices in our daily lives. They will share about best practices to create safe(r) spaces for our LGBTQIA2S+ community members, especially queer & trans BIPOC. They will define and explore basic queer and trans- competencies, community resources and more!

time iconApril 25, 2023 15:00

Reverse Mortgages

speaker headshot

Phillip Miller
Reverse Mortgage Specialist, Mutual of Omaha

This session will discuss Reverse Mortgages and the value they present to many seniors.

Frequently Asked Questions
The conference will cost $400 per person, which is a significant reduction from last year's virtual registration fee. Going completely virtual has allowed us to dramatically lower costs and pass on the savings to attendees. We are thrilled to be able to offer this reduced rate and make the conference more accessible to a wider audience.
Attestation forms will be available via e- sign (DocuSign) after participating in the conference. This allows attendees to easily and securely sign their attestation forms electronically, without the need for printing or mailing. We understand that some attendees may prefer to sign a physical attestation form, so we will also offer the option to fax or mail in the forms.
We make a point to ensure that every conference has 12.0 credits approved by the Guardian board. Sometimes that means we need to make minor adjustments to the sessions/content, but we make sure that every session we include provides the necessary credit, which includes two emerging issue credits as well as two ethics credits. In addition, we work with the Washington State Bar Association (WSBA) and apply approval of credits as well.
Attending the conference not only allows you to earn your annual CE credits in a convenient, two-day format, but it also offers the opportunity to engage with the conference in unique and interactive ways. The platform we will be using for the conference features polls, scavenger hunts, and interactive games that attendees can participate in during breaks. These activities will enable attendees to collect points, and we will be giving out sponsored prizes to the top point-getters during the conference.