Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2046. Temporary guardians.

(a) Temporary guardians are guardians appointed for a finite period of time. Temporary guardians include emergency guardians, health-care guardians, and provisional guardians. All provisions of this chapter apply to temporary guardians unless otherwise specified.

(b)(1) The court, on appropriate petition, may appoint an emergency guardian, whose authority may not extend beyond 21 days, if:

(A) An incapacitated individual has no guardian;

(B) A life-threatening situation or situation involving emergency care exists; and

(C) There is no other person with authority to act who is reasonably available, mentally capable, and willing to act.

(2) An emergency guardian appointed pursuant to this subsection may exercise those powers granted in the order.

(3) Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the court shall appoint counsel for the individual alleged to be incapacitated and provide notice to the individual alleged to be incapacitated and to interested persons, pursuant to section 21-2042.

(4) The individual alleged to be incapacitated, counsel for that individual, or any other interested person may request a hearing at any time within the period of the emergency guardianship. The hearing shall be held no later than 48 hours after the request.

(5) The court may extend the authority of an emergency guardian appointed pursuant to this subsection to authorize the emergency guardian to serve as a health-care guardian consistent with subsection (c) of this section.

(c)(1) The court, on appropriate petition, may appoint a health-care guardian for the individual alleged to be incapacitated for a specified period of time of up to 90 days if:

(A) An individual has been determined to be incapacitated under section 21-2204;

(B) The individual has no guardian; and

(C) There is no other person with authority to act who is reasonably available, mentally capable, and willing to act.

(2) The health-care guardian shall have the powers and duties set forth at section 21-2047.02(b).

(3) An appropriate petition shall include the certification of incapacity made pursuant to section 21-2204. Immediately upon receipt of the petition, counsel shall be appointed for the individual alleged to be incapacitated, and notice provided to the individual alleged to be incapacitated and to interested persons, pursuant to section 21-2042. The hearing shall be held within 7 days of receipt of the petition.

(4) The court may extend the authority of a health-care guardian for one additional period of up to 90 days:

(A) Upon determination of continued incapacity and determination of a continued need for the provision of substituted consent for any health-care service, treatment, or procedure pursuant to section 21-2210; or

(B) If a petition for a permanent limited guardian or general guardian, pursuant to section 21-2041, has been filed with the court prior to the expiration of the appointment of the temporary guardian.

(d) If the court finds that any appointed guardian is not effectively performing duties and that the welfare of the ward requires immediate action, it may appoint a provisional guardian, with notice to interested parties within 14 days after the appointment. The provisional guardian shall have the powers set forth in the previous order of appointment for a specified period not to exceed 6 months. The authority of any permanent guardian previously appointed by the court is suspended as long as a provisional guardian has authority.


(Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-204, § 2(a), 34 DCR 632; Oct. 22, 2008, D.C. Law 17-249, § 2(f), 55 DCR 9206.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2046.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 21-2011, § 21-2047.02, and § 21-2210.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-249 rewrote the section.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Mentally Retarded Citizens Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-554, December 30, 1998, 45 DCR 566).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Mentally Retarded Citizens Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-56, April 16, 1999, 46 DCR 4289).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Mentally Retarded Citizens Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-56, April 16, 1999, 46 DCR 3858).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-202, December 1, 1999, 47 DCR 134).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-285, March 7, 2000, 47 DCR 2033).

For temporary (90-day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of the Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-455, November 7, 2000, 47 DCR 9415).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-3, February 13, 2001, 48 DCR 2251).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-246, January 28, 2002, 49 DCR 1040).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-514, October 23, 2002, 49 DCR 10480).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-602, January 7, 2003, 50 DCR 684).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Emergency Amendment Act of 2003 (D.C. Act 15-234, November 25, 2003, 50 DCR 10734).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-359, February 19, 2004, 51 DCR 2578).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted for Health Care Decisions Emergency Amendment Act of 2004 (D.C. Act 15-558, October 26, 2004, 51 DCR 10375).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Citizens with Mental Retardation Substituted Consent for Health Care Decisions Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-6, January 19, 2005, 52 DCR 2683).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Emergency Amendment Act of 2005 (D.C. Act 16-190, October 28, 2005, 52 DCR 10021).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(b) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-262, January 26, 2006, 53 DCR 795).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(f) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-480, September 25, 2006, 53 DCR 7940).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(f) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-566, December 19, 2006, 53 DCR 10272).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(f) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-161, October 18, 2007, 54 DCR 10932).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(f) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-245, January 23, 2008, 55 DCR 1230).

For temporary (90 day) amendment, see § 2(f) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-492, August 4, 2008, 55 DCR 9167).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 12-249 amended the first sentence of (a) to read as follows:

“If an incapacitated individual has no guardian, a life threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care exists, and no other person appears to have authority to act within the circumstances, the court, on appropriate petition, may appoint a temporary guardian whose authority may not extend beyond 15 days and who may exercise those powers granted in the order.”

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 12-249 provided that this act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2 (b) of D.C. Law 13-88 in subsec. (a) substituted for “life threatening emergency” the phrase “life threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care”.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 13-88 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 14-64, in subsec. (a), substituted “life-threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care” for “life threatening emergency”.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 14-64 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 14-241 amended the section by substituting “life-threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care” for “life threatening emergency”.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 14-241 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 15-98, in subsec. (a), substituted “life-threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care” for “life threatening emergency”.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 15-98 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 15-245, in subsec. (a), substituted “life-threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care” for “life threatening emergency”.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 15-245 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 16-46, in subsec. (a), substituted “life-threatening situation or a situation involving emergency care” for “life threatening emergency”.

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 16-46 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(f) of D.C. Law 16-194 amended this section to read as follows:

“(2) An emergency guardian appointed pursuant to this subsection may exercise those powers granted in the order

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 16-194 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(f) of D.C. Law 17-100 amended this section to read as follows:

§ 21-2046. Temporary guardians.

“(a) Temporary guardians are guardians appointed for a finite period of time. Temporary guardians include emergency guardians, health-care guardians, and provisional guardians. All provisions of this chapter apply to temporary guardians unless otherwise specified.

“(b)(1) The court, on appropriate petition, may appoint an emergency guardian, whose authority may not extend beyond 15 days, if:

“(A) An incapacitated individual has no guardian;

“(B) A life-threatening situation or situation involving emergency care exists; and

“(2) An emergency guardian appointed pursuant to this subsection may exercise those powers granted in the order.

“(3) Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the court shall appoint counsel for the individual alleged to be incapacitated and provide notice to the individual alleged to be incapacitated and to interested persons, pursuant to section 21-2042.

“(4) The individual alleged to be incapacitated, counsel for that individual, or any other interested person may request a hearing at any time within the period of the temporary guardianship. The hearing shall be held no later than 48 hours after the request.

“(5) The court may extend the authority of an emergency guardian appointed pursuant to this subsection to authorize the emergency guardian to serve as a health-care guardian consistent with subsection (c) of this section.

“(c)(1) The court, on appropriate petition, may appoint a health-care guardian for the individual alleged to be incapacitated for a specified period of time of up to 90 days if:

“(A) An individual has been determined to be incapacitated under section 21-2204;

“(B) The individual has no guardian; and

“(C) No other person appears to have authority to act within the circumstances.

“(2) The health-care guardian shall have the powers and duties set forth at section 21-2047b(b).

“(3) An appropriate petition shall include the certification of incapacity made pursuant to section 21-2204. Immediately upon receipt of the petition, counsel shall be appointed for the individual alleged to be incapacitated, and notice provided to the individual alleged to be incapacitated and to interested persons, pursuant to section 21-2042. The hearing shall be held within 7 days of receipt of the petition.

“(4) The court may extend the authority of a health-care guardian for one additional period of up to 90 days:

“(A) Upon determination of continued incapacity and determination of a continued need for the provision of substituted consent for any health-care service, treatment, or procedure pursuant to section 21-2210; or

“(B) If a petition for a permanent limited guardian or general guardian, pursuant to section 21-2041, has been filed with the court prior to the expiration of the appointment of the temporary guardian.

“(d) If the court finds that any appointed guardian is not effectively performing duties and that the welfare of the ward requires immediate action, it may appoint, with notice to interested parties within 14 day after the appointment, a provisional guardian. The provisional guardian shall have the powers set forth in the previous order of appointment for a specified period not to exceed 6 months. The authority of any permanent guardian previously appointed by the court is suspended as long as a provisional guardian has authority.”

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 17-100 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 2-208 of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (1982 Act).