Code of the District of Columbia

§ 21–2047.01. Limitations on temporary, limited, and general guardians.

A guardian shall not have the power:

(1) To consent to an abortion, sterilization, psycho-surgery, or removal of a bodily organ except to preserve the life or prevent the immediate serious impairment of the physical health of the incapacitated individual, unless the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

(2) To consent to convulsive therapy, experimental treatment or research, or behavior modification programs involving aversive stimuli, unless the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

(3) To consent to the withholding of non-emergency, life-saving, medical procedures unless it appears that the incapacitated person would have consented to the withholding of these procedures and the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

(4) To consent to the involuntary or voluntary civil commitment of an incapacitated individual who is alleged to be mentally ill and dangerous under any provision or proceeding occurring under Chapter 5 of Title 21, except that a guardian may function as a petitioner for the commitment consistent with the requirements of Chapter 5 of Title 21;

(5) To consent to the waiver of any substantive or procedural right of the incapacitated individual in any proceeding arising from an insanity acquittal;

(6) To prohibit the marriage or divorce, or consent to the termination of parental rights, unless the power is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court; or

(7) To impose unreasonable confinement or involuntary seclusion, including forced separation from other persons or the restriction of the incapacitated individual’s access to email, phone calls, and mail, unless the power is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court.


(Oct. 22, 2008, D.C. Law 17-249, § 2(h), 55 DCR 9206; Mar. 11, 2015, D.C. Law 20-230, § 2(g), 62 DCR 278; May 5, 2018, D.C. Law 22-93, § 202(a), 65 DCR 2823.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 21-2047.02.

Effect of Amendments

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-230 added (7); and made related changes.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-480, September 25, 2006, 53 DCR 7940).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-566, December 19, 2006, 53 DCR 10272).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-161, October 18, 2007, 54 DCR 10932).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-245, January 23, 2008, 55 DCR 1230).

For temporary (90 day) addition, see § 2(h) of Health-Care Decisions for Persons with Developmental Disabilities Emergency Act of 2008 (D.C. Act 17-492, August 4, 2008, 55 DCR 9167).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(h) of D.C. Law 16-194 added a section to read as follows:

“(1) To consent to an abortion, sterilization, psycho-surgery, or removal of a bodily organ except to preserve the life or prevent the immediate serious impairment of the physical health of the incapacitated individual, unless the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 16-194 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2(h) of D.C. Law 17-100 added a section to read as follows:

§ 21-2047a. Limitations on temporary, limited, and general guardians.

“A guardian shall not have the power:

“(1) To consent to an abortion, sterilization, psycho-surgery, or removal of a bodily organ, except to preserve the life or prevent the immediate serious impairment of the physical health of the incapacitated individual, unless the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

“(2) To consent to convulsive therapy, experimental treatment or research, or behavior modification programs involving aversive stimuli, unless the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

“(3) To consent to the withholding of non-emergency, life-saving, medical procedures unless it appears that the incapacitated person would have consented to the withholding of these procedures and the power to consent is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court;

“(4) To consent to the involuntary or voluntary civil commitment of an incapacitated individual who is alleged to be mentally ill and dangerous under any provision or proceeding occurring under Chapter 5 of Title 21, except that a guardian may function as a petitioner for the commitment consistent with the requirements of Chapter 5 of Title 21 or Chapter 13 of Title 7;

“(5) To consent to the waiver of any substantive or procedural right of the incapacitated individual in any proceeding arising from an insanity acquittal; or

“(6) To prohibit the marriage or divorce, or consent to the termination of parental rights, unless the power is expressly set forth in the order of appointment or after subsequent hearing and order of the court.

“(3) Have the status of a legal representative under Chapter 12 of Title 7.”

Section 6(b) of D.C. Law 17-100 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.