Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2011. Definitions.

*NOTE: This section includes amendments by temporary legislation that will expire on February 4, 2022. To view the text of this section after the expiration of all emergency and temporary legislation affecting this section, click this link: Permanent Version.*

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Best interests” means promoting personal well-being by assessing:

(A) The reason for the proposed action, its risks and benefits, and any alternatives considered and rejected; and

(B) The least intrusive, least restrictive, and most normalizing course of action possible to provide for the needs of the individual.

(1A) “Case reviewer” means a social worker who is licensed in the District of Columbia and appointed by the court under § 21-2045.01(a).

(1B) “Claims” in respect to a protected individual, means liabilities of the protected individual, whether arising in contract, tort, or otherwise, and liabilities of the estate that arise at or after the appointment of a conservator, including expenses of administration.

(2) “Court” means the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(3) “Conservator” means a person who is appointed by a court to manage the estate of a protected individual and includes a limited conservator described in § 21-2066(a).

(4) “Counsel” means an attorney admitted to the practice of law in the District.

(5) “District” means District of Columbia.

(5A) “Domestic partner” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(3).

(5B) “Domestic partnership” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 32-701(4).

(5B-i) "Electronic" means relating to technology having electrical, digital, magnetic, wireless, optical, electromagnetic, or similar capabilities.

(5B-ii) "Electronic presence" means when one or more witnesses are in a different physical location than the signatory but can observe and communicate with the signatory and one another to the same extent as if the witnesses and signatory were physically present with one another.

(5C) “Emergency care” means immediate treatment, including diagnostic treatment, provided in response to a sudden and acute medical crisis in order to avoid injury, extreme pain, impairment, or death.

(6) “Estate” means the property of the individual whose affairs are subject to this chapter.

(7) “Examiner” means an individual qualified by training or experience in the diagnosis, care, or treatment of the causes and conditions giving rise to the alleged incapacity, such as a gerontologist, psychiatrist, or qualified developmental disability professional.

(8) “Guardian” means a person who has qualified as a guardian of an incapacitated individual pursuant to court appointment, not including a guardian ad litem, but including:

(A) A temporary guardian appointed as described in § 21-2046 for a finite period of time to serve as:

(i) An emergency guardian whose authority may not extend beyond 21 days and who may exercise any powers granted by court order and not prohibited by law;

(ii) A health-care guardian whose authority is granted for up to 90 days and may be extended for up to an additional 90 days to provide substituted consent in accordance with § 21-2210 for an individual certified as incapacitated for a health-care decision; or

(iii) A provisional guardian whose authority is granted for a specified period not to exceed 6 months, upon the court’s finding that any guardian is not effectively performing duties and that the welfare of the incapacitated individual requires immediate action;

(B) A general guardian not limited by the court in scope as described in § 21-2044(c) or in time as described in § 21-2046; and

(C) A limited guardian whose powers are limited by the court as described in § 21-2044(c) and who is appointed for a finite period of time as described in § 21-2046 or for an indeterminate period of time.

(9) “Guardian ad litem” means an individual appointed by the court to assist the subject of an intervention proceeding to determine his or her interests in regard to the guardianship or protective proceeding or to make that determination if the subject of the intervention proceeding is unconscious or otherwise wholly incapable of determining his or her interest in the proceeding even with assistance.

(10) “Habilitation” means the process by which an individual is assisted to acquire and maintain those life skills that enable him or her to cope more effectively with the demands of his or her own person and of his or her own environment and to raise the level of his or her physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and economic efficiency.

(11) “Incapacitated individual” means an adult whose ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that he or she lacks the capacity to manage all or some of his or her financial resources or to meet all or some essential requirements for his or her physical health, safety, habilitation, or therapeutic needs without court-ordered assistance or the appointment of a guardian or conservator.

(11A) “Incapacitated individual for health-care decisions” means an adult individual who lacks sufficient mental capacity to:

(A) Appreciate the nature and implications of a health-care decision;

(B) Make a choice regarding the alternatives presented; or

(C) Communicate that choice in an unambiguous manner.

(12) “Intervention proceeding” means any proceeding under this chapter.

(13) “Lease” means an oil, gas, or other mineral lease.

(14) “Letters” means letters of guardianship and letters of conservatorship.

(15) “Manage financial resources” means those actions necessary to obtain, administer, and dispose of real and personal property, intangible property, business property, benefits, and income.

(16) “Meet essential requirements for physical health or safety” means those actions necessary to provide health care, food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene, and other care without which serious physical injury or illness is more likely than not to occur.

(17) “Mortgage” means any conveyance, agreement, or arrangement in which property is used as collateral.

(18) “Organization” includes a corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, association, 2 or more persons having a joint or common interest, government, governmental subdivision or agency, or any other legal entity.

(19) “Person” means an individual or an organization.

(20) “Petition” means a written request to the court for an order after notice.

(21) “Property” means anything that may be the subject of ownership, and includes both real and personal property and any interest in real or personal property.

(22) “Protected individual” means an individual for whom a conservator has been appointed or other protective order has been made as provided in sections 21-2055 and 21-2056.

(23) “Protective proceeding” means a proceeding under the provisions of subchapter VI of this chapter.

(23A) "Record" means information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.

(23B) "Sign" means with present intent to authenticate or adopt a record to:

(A) Execute or adopt a tangible symbol; or

(B) Affix to or associate with the record an electronic signature.

(24) “Qualified developmental disability professional” means:

(A) A psychologist with at least a master’s degree from an accredited program and with specialized training or 1 year of experience in intellectual disabilities;

(B) A physician licensed to practice medicine in the District and with specialized training in intellectual disabilities or with 1 year of experience in treating individuals with intellectual disabilities;

(C) An educator with a degree in education from an accredited program and with specialized training or 1 year of experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities;

(D) A social worker with:

(i) A master’s degree from a school of social work accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (New York, New York), and with specialized training in intellectual disabilities or with 1 year of experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities; or

(ii) A bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate social work program accredited by the Council on Social Work Education who is currently working and continues to work under the supervision of a social worker as defined in subparagraph (D)(i) and who has specialized training in intellectual disabilities or 1 year of experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities;

(E) A rehabilitation counselor who is certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (Chicago, Illinois) and who has specialized training in intellectual disabilities or 1 year of experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities;

(F) A physical or occupational therapist with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program in physical or occupational therapy and who has specialized training or 1 year of experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities; or

(G) A therapeutic recreation specialist who is a graduate of an accredited program and who has specialized training or 1 year of experience in working with individuals with intellectual disabilities.

(25) “Security” means any:

(A) Note;

(B) Stock;

(C) Treasury stock;

(D) Bond debenture;

(E) Evidence of indebtedness;

(F) Certificate of interest or participation in an oil, gas, or mining title or lease or in payments out of production under such a title or lease;

(G) Collateral trust certificate;

(H) Transferable share;

(I) Voting trust certificate; or

(J) Interest or instrument commonly known as a security, certificate of interest or participation, temporary or interim certificate, receipt, certificate of deposit for, or any warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase any of the foregoing.

(25A) “Substituted judgment” means making a decision that conforms as closely as possible with the decision that the individual would have made, based upon the knowledge of the beliefs, values, and preferences of the individual.

(26) “Visitor” means a person appointed in a guardianship or protective proceeding who is an officer, employee, or special appointee of the court and who has no personal interest in the proceeding.

(27) “Ward” means an individual for whom a guardian has been appointed.