Probate Court Appointments
The Presiding Judge of the Probate Division maintains the following lists of persons for appointment to Probate Division cases:
Probate Fiduciary Panel
The Probate Fiduciary Panel is a list of attorneys available for Court appointment to serve as fiduciaries, counsel, guardian, guardian ad litem or visitors in estate proceedings, guardianship of the estates of minors proceedings, and intervention proceedings for incapacitated adults.
On September 14, 2015, the Chief Judge of the Superior Court for the District of Columbia issued Administrative Order 15-18, Re-establishing the Probate Fiduciary Panel. On April 20, 2017, the Chief Judge issued Administrative Order 17-08 providing a regular and ongoing process for supplementing the Probate Fiduciary Panel and Administrative Order 17-09, Re-establishing the Probate Panel Implementation Committee. An Application Form has been issued and upon completion should be emailed to probateapplicant [at] dcsc.gov
For the current list of attorneys who serve on the Probate Fiduciary Panel, click here. This list is maintained by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division. Contact information for attorneys may be obtained from the DC Bar.
The Probate Division Practice Standards apply to attorneys and other professionals appointed by the Court to serve in matters before the Probate Division. These standards, which were adopted by Administrative Order 6-19 discuss the duties and responsibilities of persons appointed to serve by the Court and also discuss the role of the counsel, guardian, guardian ad litem, guardian of a minor, and visitor. The standards are color coordinated, including general provisions applicable to all persons appointed by the court (RED) and specific provisions concerning decedents' estates (BLUE), interventions for incapacitated adults (GREEN), and guardianships of minors' estates (PURPLE).
Attorneys who serve on the Probate Fiduciary Panel are required to submit a verifiable statement by December 1st of each year demonstrating that the attorney has taken six (6) credit hours of courses during the calendar year. The types of courses that are acceptable to meet this continuing educational requirement are discussed in the Open Letter to Participants. The verified statement is to be submitted to the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division (not to the Office of the Register of Wills).
An examiner is an individual qualified by training or experience in the diagnosis, care, or treatment of the causes and conditions giving rise to the alleged incapacity, such as a gerontologist, psychiatrist, licensed clinical social worker or qualified mental retardation professional. Examiners appointed by the court serve in Probate Division cases involving incapacitated adults (INT cases) and adults with developmental disabilities (IDD cases). In these cases, the court must make a determination of whether or not the proposed ward is incapacitated within the meaning of the law. After appointment and prior to the court hearing, an examiner files an examiner's report in the Office of the Register of Wills and sends a copy to each "interested person", which includes each person listed in the court order appointing the examiner.
An "incapacitated individual" is defined in District of Columbia law, contained as DC Code, sec. 21-2011, as an adult whose ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that he or she lacks the capacity to manage all or some of his or her financial resources or to meet all or some essential requirements for his or her physical health, safety, habilitation, or therapeutic needs without court-ordered assistance or the appointment of a guardian or conservator.
The ability to manage financial resources is defined as those actions necessary to obtain, administer, and dispose of real and personal property, intangible property, business property, benefits, and income. The ability to meet essential requirements for physical health or safety is defined as those actions necessary to provide health care, food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene, and other care without which serious physical injury or illness is more than likely to occur.
Qualified individuals who wish to serve on the court's examiner list should contact the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division. Persons seeking to serve as a qualified mental retardation professional should first review D. C. Code, sec. 21-2011(24), which defines the qualifications needed for this type of examiner. Click here to see the list of persons currently serving on the Examiners List for the Probate Division. This list is maintained by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division.
Click here to see the list of persons currently serving on the Examiners List for the Probate Division. This list is maintained by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division.
Information concerning the qualifications and contact information for persons serving on the Examiners List is also available.
A visitor is a person appointed in an adult guardianship or protective proceeding who is an officer, employee or special appointee of the court and who has no personal interest in the proceeding. A visitor serves as an independent investigator who is expected to reach his or her own conclusions regarding the circumstances surrounding the subject. Visitors are only appointed when deemed necessary by the court, to conduct a special investigation into specifically identified issue such as a possible conflict of interest or an issue involving the appropriate level of care needed by the incapacitated adult. After appointment and prior to the court hearing, a visitor files a visitor's report in the Office of the Register of Wills and sends a copy to each "interested person", which includes each person listed in the court order appointing the visitor.
Persons who serve on the Fiduciary Panel of Attorneys may be appointed by the Court as a visitor. In addition, a Visitors List of health care professionals is maintained by the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division. Click here to see the list of persons currently serving on the Visitors List for the Probate Division. Information concerning the qualifications and contact information for persons serving on the Visitors List is also available. The Visitors List also includes the list of persons volunteering for the DC Superior Court Bioethics Visitors Panel. Qualified individuals who wish to serve on the court's visitors list should contact the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division.
The Probate Division Practice Standards apply to attorneys and other professionals appointed by the Court to serve as visitors. These standards, which were adopted by Administrative Order 6-19 discuss the duties and responsibilities of persons appointed to serve by the Court. The standards are color coordinated, including general provisions applicable to all persons appointed by the court (RED) and specific provisions concerning interventions for incapacitated adults (GREEN).
Visitors should visit the place where the potential ward now resides and also any place proposed as a subsequent residence, should meet with appropriate persons to determine potential and/or existing conflicts of interest that may disqualify a person from serving as guardian or conservator, and recommend to the court an appropriate person to serve as guardian or conservator if the petitioner and other parties have not made a nomination. A court appointed visitor is required to file a report with the court, which should be filed at least 10 days prior to the scheduled court hearing, and must attend the court hearing unless excused by the court.
Probate Practice Standard for Visitors
Incapacitated persons who are wards of the court may suffer from physical, mental and developmental conditions and may require assistance in obtaining housing and other placements, medical and mental health care and social services. By Administrative Order 08-11 and Order 09-11, the Chief Judge of the Superior Court ordered the institution of a pilot project for the appointment of non-lawyers as guardians in Probate Division cases and appointed fourteen non-lawyer professionals to the Probate fiduciary panel for a period of one year from September 1, 2008, to September 1, 2009. These professionals have a variety of qualifications and include licensed geriatric social workers, advanced practice nurses, occupational therapists and retired professionals. Click here for Administrative Order 08-11, Administrative Order 09-11, and the list of non-lawyer professionals.
Click here to see the list of persons currently serving on the Guardians List for the Probate Division.
Guardianship Assistance Program Student Visitors List
The Program Manager of the Guardianship Assistance Program serves as the field instructor for a limited number of students enrolled in local universities who are pursuing an advanced degree in social work studies. During the academic year, these student volunteers are appointed by the Court as Student Visitors and assist the Court by reviewing the care provided to wards of the Court, identifying unmet needs of the wards and making recommendations to the Court.