District of Columbia Guardianship Law
Under District of Columbia Guardianship Law, a guardian is a person appointed by the local court to make healthcare decisions for an incapacitated person. Under District of Columbia Guardianship Law Section 212011(11) of the D.C. Code, an incapacitated individual is defined as “an adult whose ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that [they] lack the capacity to manage all of some of [their] financial resources or to meet all or some essential requirements for [their] physical health, safety, habilitation, or therapeutic needs without court-ordered assistance.” Section 13705(b) of the Maryland code recognizes a similar meaning of incapacity. In Maryland, an individual is considered incapacitated if there is “clear and convincing evidence that a person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his person, including provisions for health care.”
In many states, a guardian may also be appointed in other circumstances. For example, Maryland allows the court to appoint a guardian for a minor or someone suffering from a serious drug addiction. This article, however, only focuses on guardianships for incapacitated individuals.