How to File for an Adult Guardianship in Washington, DC

Woman taking Blood Pressure of an elderly man

When a vulnerable adult is unable to make decisions independently due to physical or mental incapacitation, the legal process of adult guardianship can help protect their rights and well-being. In Washington, DC, the guardianship system provides a framework to appoint a responsible individual or entity to act as a guardian and make decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. This article aims to guide you through the process of filing for an adult guardianship in Washington, DC, ensuring that you have the necessary information to navigate this complex legal procedure successfully.

Understanding Intervention Proceedings/Adult Guardianship

Before diving into the specifics of filing for intervention proceedings, also known as adult guardianship in Washington, DC, it’s essential to grasp the concept of adult guardianship itself. Adult guardianship is a legal arrangement where a court appoints a conservator and/or guardian to make personal, financial, and healthcare decisions for an incapacitated adult, known as the ward. Guardianship is typically sought when an individual is no longer capable of making decisions due to age, disability, or mental incapacity.

Watch this video on Intervention Proceedings provided by the DC Superior Court:

Determining the Need for Guardianship

Filing for adult guardianship should only be pursued when no alternatives, such as powers of attorney or advance healthcare directives, are viable options. This section will outline factors to consider when determining the need for guardianship and help you evaluate the individual’s capacity and their ability to manage their personal and financial affairs.

Filing the Petition

A crucial step in initiating the adult guardianship process in Washington, DC, involves filing a petition with the appropriate court. This section will guide you through the necessary steps, including:

  1. Preparing the petition and required documentation
  2. Gathering medical reports and evaluations
  3. Serving notice to the interested parties
  4. Filing the petition with the court

The Guardianship Hearing

Once the petition is filed, a guardianship hearing is scheduled to determine whether the proposed ward requires a guardian. This section will explain what to expect during the hearing, including:

  1. Notifying interested parties about the hearing
  2. Presenting evidence and testimony
  3. Evaluation by a court-appointed visitor
  4. Deciding on the appointment of a guardian

Post-Guardianship Duties

After the court approves the guardianship, certain obligations need to be fulfilled. This section will discuss the responsibilities of the guardian, such as:

  1. Preparing an inventory of the ward’s assets
  2. Creating a care plan for the ward
  3. Making decisions in the best interest of the ward
  4. Providing regular reports to the court


Filing for an adult guardianship in Washington, DC, is a significant legal undertaking that requires careful consideration and adherence to the relevant procedures. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can better navigate the complex process, ensuring the protection and well-being of vulnerable adults. Remember, seeking legal counsel and guidance from professionals specializing in guardianship is always advisable to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations. Through your commitment as a guardian, you can make a profound difference in the life of an incapacitated adult, helping them lead a more secure and fulfilled existence.

Our Guardianship Attorneys Can Help

Contact the Law Offices of Thomas Stahl to learn more at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280, or reach us online to book your consultation today. Our skilled attorneys can provide in-depth answers to your pressing questions regarding adult guardianship in Washington, DC.

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