Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2047. Powers and duties of general guardian and limited guardian.

Except as limited pursuant to section 21-2044 , a general guardian or a limited guardian of an incapacitated individual is responsible for care, custody, and control of the ward, but is not personally liable to third persons by reason of that responsibility for acts of the ward.

(a) In particular and without qualifying the foregoing, a general guardian or limited guardian shall:

(1) Become or remain personally acquainted with the ward and maintain sufficient contact with the ward to know of the ward’s capacities, limitations, needs, opportunities, and physical and mental health;

(2) Take reasonable care of the ward’s personal effects and commence protective proceedings, if necessary, to protect other property of the ward;

(3) Apply any available money of the ward to the ward’s current needs for support, care, habilitation, and treatment;

(4) Conserve any excess money of the ward for the ward’s future needs, but if a conservator has been appointed for the estate of the ward, the guardian, at least quarterly, shall pay to the conservator money of the ward to be conserved for the ward’s future needs;

(5) Report in writing the condition of the ward and of the ward’s estate that has been subject to the guardian’s possession or control, as ordered by the court on petition of any person interested in the ward’s welfare or on any order of the court, but at least semiannually;

(6) Make decisions on behalf of the ward by conforming as closely as possible to a standard of substituted judgment or, if the ward’s wishes are unknown and remain unknown after reasonable efforts to discern them, make the decision on the basis of the ward’s best interests;

(7) Include the ward in the decision-making process to the maximum extent of the ward’s ability; and

(8) Encourage the ward to act on his or her own behalf whenever he or she is able to do so, and to develop or regain capacity to make decisions in those areas in which he or she is in need of decision-making assistance, to the maximum extent possible.

(b) A general guardian or limited guardian may:

(1) Receive money payable for the support of the ward under the terms of any statutory benefit or insurance system or any private contract, devise, trust, conservatorship, or custodianship;

(2) Take custody of the person of the ward and establish the ward’s place of abode within or without the District, if consistent with the terms of any order by a court of competent jurisdiction relating to detention or commitment of the ward;

(3) Institute proceedings, including administrative proceedings, or take other appropriate action to compel the performance by any person of a duty to support the ward or to pay sums for the welfare of the ward, if no conservator for the estate of the ward has been appointed;

(4) Consent to medical examination and medical or other professional care, treatment, or advice for the ward, without liability, by reason of the consent for injury to the ward resulting from the negligence or acts of third persons, unless the guardian fails to act in good faith;

(5) Obtain medical records for the purpose of applying for government entitlements or private benefits and have the status of a legal representative under the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978, effective March 3, 1979 (D.C. Law 2-136; § 7-1201.01 et seq.); and

(6) If reasonable under all of the circumstances, delegate to the ward certain responsibilities for decisions affecting the ward’s well-being.

(c) Repealed.

(d) A guardian is entitled to reasonable compensation for services as guardian and to reimbursement for room, board, and clothing personally provided to the ward, but only as approved by order of the court pursuant to section 21-2060(a).