Code of the District of Columbia

Subchapter IV. Notice, Parties, and Representation in Guardianship and Protective Proceedings.


§ 21–2031. Notice; method, contents, and time of giving.

(a) If notice of a hearing on any petition is required, other than a notice meeting specific notice requirements otherwise provided, the petitioner shall cause notice of the time and place of hearing of any petition to be given to the person to be notified or to the attorney, if the person has appeared by attorney or requested that notice be sent to an attorney.

(b) Notice must be given:

(1) By mailing a copy of the notice at least 17 days before the time set for the hearing by certified or ordinary first-class mail, addressed to the person being notified, using the post office address given in the request for notice, if any, or to the person’s office or place of residence, if known;

(2) By personally delivering a copy to the person being notified at least 14 days before the time set for the hearing; or

(3) In the case of an individual who has disappeared, has been detained by a foreign power, or is being held by someone other than a foreign power, by publishing, at least once a week for 3 consecutive weeks, a copy of the notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the District, the first publication of which is at least 40 days before the date set for the hearing.

(c) The court, for good cause shown, may provide for a different method or time of giving notice for any hearing.

(d) Proof of the giving of notice must be made by affidavit not later than the date of the hearing specified in the proceeding.

(e) The contents of the notice required in any proceeding under this chapter shall be as prescribed by court rule. Each notice shall explain the purposes, procedure, and significance of the pleading or hearing that the notice concerns, as well as the rights to which the parties are entitled.


(Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-204, § 2(a), 34 DCR 632; Sept. 22, 1989, D.C. Law 8-34, § 2(e), 36 DCR 5035.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2031.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 21-2042, § 21-2053, and § 21-2068.

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 1-401 of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (1982 Act).


§ 21–2032. Notice; waiver.

A person, including a guardian, guardian ad litem, conservator, or other fiduciary, may waive notice by a signed writing. An individual for whom a guardianship or other protective order is sought, a ward, or a protected individual may not waive notice.


(Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-204, § 2(a), 34 DCR 632.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2032.

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 1-402 of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (1982 Act).


§ 21–2033. Guardian ad litem; counsel; visitor.

(a) At any point in a proceeding, a court may appoint a guardian ad litem to prosecute or defend the best interests of individuals in any legal proceeding if the court determines that representation of the interest otherwise would be inadequate. If not precluded by a conflict of interest, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to represent several individuals or interests. In addition, a guardian ad litem may be appointed by the court to assist the subject of an intervention proceeding to determine his or her best interests in regard to the guardianship or protective proceeding or to make that determination if the subject of the proceeding is unconscious or otherwise wholly incapable of determining his or her interests in that proceeding even with assistance. In either case the guardian ad litem shall not serve as an independent finder of fact, investigator, ombudsman, or other neutral party in the proceeding. The court, as a part of the record of the proceeding, shall set out its reasons for appointing a guardian ad litem and his or her specific duties.

(b)(1) The duty of counsel for the subject of a guardianship or protective proceeding is to represent zealously that individual’s expressed wishes. At a minimum, this shall include:

(A) Personal interviews with the subject of the intervention proceeding;

(B) Explaining to the subject of the intervention proceeding, in the language, mode of communication, and terms that the individual is most likely to understand, the nature and possible consequences of the proceeding, the alternatives that are available, and the rights to which the individual is entitled; and

(C) Securing and presenting evidence and testimony and offering arguments to protect the rights of the subject of the guardianship or protective proceeding and further the subject of the guardianship’s expressed wishes.

(2) If the subject of the guardianship or protective proceeding is unconscious or otherwise wholly incapable of expressing his or her wishes, counsel shall advocate zealously for the result that is the least restrictive option in type, duration, and scope, consistent with the subject’s interests as determined by the guardian ad litem.

(c) Visitors appointed by the court in guardianship or protective proceedings shall interview the subject of the proceeding, the person who has filed the petition initiating the proceeding, and any person nominated to serve as guardian or conservator. The visitor shall also visit the present place of abode of the subject of the proceeding and the place it is proposed that the individual will be detained or reside if the appointment is made. The visitor shall submit a written report to the court. If a person has been nominated for appointment as a guardian or conservator, the visitor shall investigate whether a conflict or potential conflict of interest should preclude the appointment. If no person is nominated, the visitor shall make a nomination in his or her report to the court.


(Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-204, § 2(a), 34 DCR 632; Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-230, § 2(c), 62 DCR 278.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2033.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-230 substituted “to prosecute or defend the best interests of individuals” for “to prosecute or defend the interest of individuals” in the first sentence of (a); substituted “to determine his or her best interests” for “to determine his or her interests” in the third sentence of (a); redesignated (b) as (b)(1) and redesignated former (b)(1) through (b)(3) as (b)(1)(A) through (b)(1)(C); substituted “expressed wishes” for “legitimate interests” in the introductory language of (b)(1); substituted “further the subject of the guardianship’s expressed wishes” for “further that individual’s interests” in (b)(1)(C); and added (b)(2).

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 1-403 of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (1982 Act).


§ 21–2034. Request for notice; interested person.

Upon payment of any required fee, an interested person who desires to be notified before any order is made in any proceeding under this chapter may file a request for notice with the clerk of the court in which the proceeding is pending. The clerk shall mail a copy of the request to the guardian and to the conservator if either has been appointed. A request is not effective unless it contains a statement showing the interest of the person making it and the address of that person or an attorney to whom notice is to be given. The request is effective only as to proceedings occurring after the filing. Any governmental agency paying or planning to pay benefits to the individual to be protected is an interested person in protective proceedings.


(Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-204, § 2(a), 34 DCR 632.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 21-2034.

Editor's Notes

Uniform Law: This section is based upon § 1-404 of the Uniform Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Act (1982 Act).