Guardianship of Minors: Statutes, Rules and Forms
D.C. Code ? 21-101 (2007)
? 21-101. Natural guardians of the person
(a) The father and mother are the natural guardians of the person of their minor children. When either dies or is
incapable of acting, the natural guardianship of the person
devolves upon the other.
(b) This section does not affect the power of a court of competent jurisdiction to appoint another person
guardian of the children when it appears to the court that
the welfare of the children requires it.
D.C. Code ? 21-102 (2007)
? 21-102. Testamentary guardians of the person
When one parent is dead, the other, whether of full age or not, may, by last will and testament, appoint a guardian
of the person to have the care, custody, and tuition of his
infant child, other than a married infant; and if the
person so appointed refuses the trust, the Probate Court
may appoint another person in his place.
D.C. Code ? 21-103 (2007)
? 21-103. Appointment of guardians of the person by court;
limitation of number of wards
(a) When an infant has neither a natural nor testamentary guardian, a guardian of the person may be
appointed by the Probate Court in its own discretion or on
the application of a next friend of the infant.
(b) Only trust companies may act as guardian of the person for more than five infants at one time, unless the
infants are members of one family.
D.C. Code ? 21-104 (2007)
? 21-104. Termination of guardianship of the person
A natural guardianship or an appointive guardianship of the person of an infant ceases when said infant becomes 18
years of age or marries.
D.C. Code ? 21-105 (2007)
? 21-105. Appointment by deed or will for child inheriting
(a) In case of the death of either parent from whom his or her minor children inherit or take by devise or
bequest, the parent may by deed or last will and testament
appoint a guardian of the property of the children, subject
to the approval of the proper court of the District of
(b) This section does not limit or affect the power of a court of competent jurisdiction to appoint another person
guardian of the children when it appears to the court that
the welfare of the children requires it.
D.C. Code ? 21-106 (2007)
? 21-106. Guardian of estate
(a) Subject to sections 21-101 to 21-104, when land descends or is devised to an infant under 18 years of age,
or the infant is entitled to a distributive share of the
personal estate of an intestate or to a legacy or bequest
under a last will, or acquires real or personal property by
gift or purchase, the Probate Court may appoint a guardian
of the infant’s estate; and if there is a guardian of the
person of the infant the guardian of the estate so
appointed may be the same or a different person.
(b) The appointment may be made at any time after the probate of the will or the grant of administration when the
infant is entitled as a devisee, legatee, or next of kin.
(c) Only trust companies may act as guardian of the estate of more than five infants at one time, unless the
infants are entitled to shares of the same estate.
D.C. Code ? 21-107 (2007)
? 21-107. Preferences in appointment of guardian of estate
In appointing a guardian of the estate of an infant, unless said infant be over 14 years of age as hereinafter
directed in section 21-108, the court shall give preference
(1) the parents, or either of them, if living; or
(2) the spouse if the infant is married to a person 18 years of age or older --
when in the judgment of the court the parent or spouse is a
suitable person to have the management of the infant’s
D.C. Code ? 21-108 (2007)
? 21-108. Selection of guardian by infant
(a) When a guardian, either of the person or the estate, of an infant is appointed, the infant shall, if
practicable, be brought before the court, and, if over 14
years of age, shall be entitled to select and nominate his
or her guardian.
(b) When a guardian has been appointed before the infant has attained the age of 14 years, the infant, upon
arriving at that age, may select a new guardian,
notwithstanding the appointment before made.
(c) The court shall pass upon the character and
competency of the guardian selected by the infant, and the
guardian shall be:
(1) required to give bond as in other cases;
(2) subject to the control of the court; and
(3) under the same obligations and discharge the
same duties -- as if selected by the court.
(d) When, after a guardian of the estate has been
appointed, the infant selects a new guardian upon arriving
at the age of 14 years, and the new selection is approved
by the court, and the person selected is duly appointed and
qualified, the guardian previously appointed shall settle
his final account and turn over his ward’s estate to the
newly appointed guardian.
D.C. Code ? 21-109 (2007)
? 21-109. Spouse as guardian of estate
When an infant to whom a guardian of his or her estate
has been appointed marries, he or she may select his or her
spouse as the guardian of his or her estate, with the
approval of the court; and after he is duly appointed and
qualified by giving bond, as is required in other cases,
the powers of the guardian previously appointed shall cease,
and he shall settle his final account and turn over his
ward’s estate to his or her spouse, according to the order
and directions of the court.
D.C. Code ? 21-110 (2007)
? 21-110. Service on nonresident guardian; failure to give
power of attorney
Before original or ancillary letters of guardianship
are issued, the person designated, if a nonresident of the District of Columbia, shall file in the office of the Register of Wills an irrevocable power of attorney designating the Register of Wills and his successors in office as the person upon whom all notices and process issued by a competent court in the District may be served, with like effect as personal service, in relation to all suits, matters, causes, or things affecting or pertaining to the estate in which the letters are to be issued. The Register of Wills shall forthwith forward by registered or certified mail to the address of the guardian, which shall be stated in the power of attorney, all notices or process served upon the Register under this section.
If the person fails to file the power of attorney
within 10 days after the entry of the order of appointment, the order shall stand revoked, and he shall forfeit all rights to the office.
D.C. Code ? 21-111 (2007)
? 21-111. Ancillary guardian of estate of nonresident infant
When an infant residing outside the District of
Columbia is entitled to property or to maintain an action in the District of Columbia, a general guardian or committee of his estate, appointed by a court of competent jurisdiction in the State or territory where the infant resides, or a person at the request of the guardian or committee, may petition the court for ancillary letters as guardian or committee. The petition shall be under oath, accompanied by certified copies of as much of the record and proceedings as shows the appointment of the guardian or committee and that he has given a sufficient bond to account for all property and money that may come into his hands by virtue of the authority conferred. The court may thereupon issue to the guardian or committee ancillary letters as such guardian or committee, without citation, or may cite such persons as it believes proper to show cause why the application should be refused; and the court shall
require the security required by law in like cases from a
resident guardian or committee.
D.C. Code ? 21-112 (2007)
? 21-112. Suits by ancillary guardian
(a) Upon the granting of ancillary letters, the guardian may institute and prosecute to judgment any action
in the courts of the District of Columbia, take possession
of all property of his ward, and collect and receive all
moneys belonging and due to him therein, give full receipt
and acquittances for debts, and release all claims, liens,
and mortgages belonging to the ward, on property in the
District of Columbia, in the same manner as if his
authority had been originally conferred by the Probate
(b) The guardian shall give security for the costs which may accrue in an action brought by him, in the same
manner as other nonresidents bringing suit in the courts of
D.C. Code ? 21-113 (2007)
? 21-113. Enjoining spouse, parent, or testamentary
guardian from interfering with minor’s estate
On application of a friend of an infant entitled to real or personal estate, or in the exercise of its own
discretion, the court may enjoin a parent or spouse or
testamentary guardian from interfering with the infant’s
estate without being appointed and giving bond as guardian
of the estate.
D.C. Code ? 21-114 (2007)
? 21-114. Bond from parents of child entitled to property
When an infant whose father or mother is living becomes entitled to property, the Probate Court may require the
father or mother, as guardian, to give bond and security to account for the property, and on his or her failure or refusal so to do may appoint another person guardian, who shall give bond as in other cases.
? 21-115. Bond of guardian of estate
A guardian appointed by the court, other than a
corporation authorized to act as guardian, and a testamentary guardian, unless otherwise directed by the will making the appointment, before entering upon or taking possession of or interfering with the estate of the infant, shall execute a bond in such penalty and with such surety as the court approves, to be recorded and to be liable to be sued upon for the use of a person interested, with the condition that if he, as guardian, faithfully accounts to the court, as required by law, for the management of the property and estate of the infant under his care, and delivers up the property agreeably to the order of the court or the directions of law, and in all respects performs the duty of guardian according to law, then the obligation shall cease; it shall otherwise remain in full force.
D.C. Code ? 21-116 (2007)
? 21-116. One bond for several wards
When a person is guardian to a number of persons
entitled to shares of the same estate the court may accept one bond instead of separate bonds for each ward, and the bond shall be liable to be sued upon for the use of all or any of the wards as fully as separate bonds might be.
D.C. Code ? 21-117 (2007)
? 21-117. Additional bond
The court may at any time require a guardian to give bond or additional bond, when the interests of the infant
require it, and on his failure or refusal so to do, may
revoke his appointment and appoint another guardian in his
place, and require the estate of the infant to be forthwith
delivered to the newly appointed guardian, and may direct
the latter to bring suit upon the bond of his predecessor.
D.C. Code ? 21-118 (2007)
? 21-118. Counter security; petition by surety
If a surety of a guardian by petition sets forth that he apprehends himself to be in danger of loss in
consequence of his suretyship, and prays the court to be
relieved, the court, after summoning the guardian to answer
the petition, may require him to give counter security to
indemnify his original surety or to deliver his ward’s
estate into the hands of the surety or of another person.
In either case, the court shall require sufficient security
for the proper management and application of the estate to
be given by the person into whose hands the estate is
delivered, and make such other order as seems just.
D.C. Code ? 21-119 (2007)
? 21-119. Allowances made before bond given
An allowance made to a guardian for the clothing, support, maintenance, education or other expenses incurred
for the ward or his estate, before the guardian gives bond
or is appointed, has the same effect in law as if made
subsequently to the appointment of the guardian and his
D.C. Code ? 21-120 (2007)
? 21-120. Settlement of actions involving minor children;
appointment of guardian of estate
(a) A person entitled to maintain or defend an action on behalf of a minor child, including an action relating to
real estate, is competent to settle an action so brought
and, upon settlement thereof or upon satisfaction of a
judgment obtained therein, is competent to give a full
acquittance and release of all liability in connection with
the action, but such a settlement is not valid unless
approved by a judge of the court in which the action is
(b) A person may not receive money or other property on behalf of a minor in settlement of an action brought on
behalf of or against the minor or in satisfaction of a
judgment in the action, where, after deduction of fees,
costs and all other expenses incident to the matter, the
net value of the money and property due the minor exceeds
$3,000, before he is appointed by a court of competent
jurisdiction as guardian of the estate of the minor to
receive the money or property, and qualifies as such.
D.C. Code ? 21-141 (2007)
? 21-141. Possession of property
On the execution of his bond, a guardian is entitled to an order of the court directing the real and personal
estate of the ward to be delivered into his possession, and
all legacies and distributive shares to which the ward is
entitled to be paid or delivered to him when they are
properly payable or distributable according to law.
D.C. Code ? 21-142 (2007)
? 21-142. Inventory
Within three months after the execution and approval of his bond, a guardian shall return to the court, under oath,
an inventory of the real and personal estate of his ward
and of the probable annual income thereof, and the court
may direct the estate to be appraised and the annual income
thereof to be ascertained by two competent persons, to be
appointed by the court, who shall report their appraisement
and finding under oath.
D.C. Code ? 21-143 (2007)
? 21-143. Duties; accounts; maintenance and education;
A guardian shall manage the estate for the best interests of the ward, and once in each year, or oftener if
required, he shall settle an account of his trust under
oath. He shall account for all profit and increase of his
ward’s estate and the annual value thereof, and shall be
allowed credit for taxes, repairs, improvements, expenses,
and commissions, and he is not answerable for any loss or
decrease sustained without his fault. The court shall
determine the amounts to be expended annually in the
maintenance and education of the infant, regard being had
to his future condition and prospects in life; and if it
deems it advantageous to the ward, may allow the guardian
to exceed the income of the estate and to make use of the
principal and sell it or part thereof, under the court’s
order, as provided by this subchapter; but a guardian may
not sell any property of his ward without an order of the
court previously had therefor. The court shall allow a
reasonable compensation for services rendered by the
guardian not exceeding a commission of five per centum of
the amounts collected, if and when disbursed.
D.C. Code ? 21-144 (2007)
? 21-144. Property subject to liens
When an infant is entitled to real or personal estate in the District of Columbia which is liable to a mortgage,
trust, or lien, or is in any way charged with the payment