Seals of the Court of Appeals and Superior Court
District of Columbia Courts

Guardians of Minors Estates (GDN) FAQs

Accounting Question - What is Financial Account Information form (form 27)?

It is the Financial Account Information form that a guardian is required to file with the account and includes such information as the name on an account, the name and address of the bank or financial institution, and the account number. The form is maintained under seal and is available only to authorized Court personnel unless otherwise included in the public record.

Accounting Questions - How are accounts prepared?

Accounts are prepared using the Court-prescribed form Statement of Account. Alternatively, contact the Duty Auditor at 202-879-9447, and the form will be mailed to you. The form must be machine printed or typewritten.

Accounting Questions - How can I find out which auditor is assigned to my case?

Telephone the Duty Auditor at 202-870-9447, or call 202-879-9434.

Accounting Questions - How is an inventory prepared?

An inventory is prepared using the Court-prescribed form Inventory Report. Alternatively, contact the Duty Auditor at 202-879-9447, and the form will be mailed to you. The form must be machine printed or typewritten.

Accounting Questions - How often must I file my account?

Probate Division Rules 204(a)(4) and (5) require that accounts be filed annually within thirty (30) days after the anniversary date of appointment. Final accounts must be filed within sixty (60) days after the minor’s eighteenth birthday or the guardian’s death or incapacity. A schedule of mandatory filing dates is provided to the guardian upon appointment.

Accounting Questions - What are the rights of parents or custodians of minors with respect to accountings?

Accountings do not have to be sent to parents or custodians. However, a parent or custodian can ask the Court to be allowed to participate as a party by filing a Petition for Permission To Participate. If the Court grants the request, the parent or custodian then has the right to receive copies of all documents that are filed.

Accounting Questions - What documentation is needed when the bank will not provide copies of cancelled checks?

When a guardian is appointed by the Court, letters of guardianship will be issued. After appointment, the guardian should take the letters and the order of appointment to a bank and open an account that contains only the funds of the minor and is titled something like "Estate of Minor Child, Name of Guardian." If possible, that account should be an account that returns cancelled checks or images of cancelled checks. Many banks no longer issue or return cancelled checks. If replacement records are needed later, the letters of guardianship should be sufficient to support the guardian’s authority to order them.

Accounting Questions - What is the audit timeframe once an account has been filed?

Generally, an account is audited within thirty (30) to forty-five (45) days. However, if after forty-five (45) days, no initial audit notice is received, please contact the Auditing Branch Manager at 202-879-9429.

Accounting Questions - When are court costs paid?

Court costs are paid when the first account is filed. A list of costs is contained in Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 206. If more assets are acquired later that increase the value of the estate, additional costs are paid with subsequent accounts. Contact the Duty Auditor at 202-879-9447 for other questions related to computation of Court costs.

Accounting Questions - When is the inventory of assets due?

Probate Division Rule 204(a)(2) requires that an inventory be filed by the guardian within ninety days after qualification or ninety days after the order bringing the guardian under the Court’s authority, supervision, or direction. If there are no assets to collect, an affidavit to that effect must be filed in lieu of the inventory.

Closing the Guardianship of a Minor - How can I resign?

File a Petition To Resign with the Court, stating the reasons for the resignation.

Closing the Guardianship of a Minor - How is a case transferred to another state once a minor has moved?

There is no mechanism to transfer a guardianship of a minor’s estate to another state. A petition to appoint a guardian of the estate of the minor would have to be filed and approved in the new state. Then a petition to terminate the guardianship in the District of Columbia would need to be filed and approved by this Court. Authenticated or "triple-sealed" copies of the documents from the other state should be attached to the petition to terminate.

Closing the Guardianship of a Minor - How long does the appointment as guardian of the estate of the minor last?

The appointment ends when the minor emancipates, i.e., becomes 18, or when the guardianship is terminated by Court order for some other reason.

Closing the Guardianship of a Minor - If the minor has reached the age of majority and cannot be located, to whom should distribution be made?

The guardian may file a Petition To Deposit Funds Into the Estate Deposit Account at the Probate Division. The funds will be held until the emancipated minor files a Petition for Release of Funds Held in the Estate Deposit Account, the Court approves the petition, and the emancipated minor brings the order allowing release of the funds to the Probate Division cashier with identification to begin the process of releasing the funds.

Closing the Guardianship of a Minor - What options do I have if I do not want to turn over a large sum of money to a minor who has recently reached the age of majority

A guardian should discuss wise choices for investment and use of the money but cannot withhold the funds from the emancipated minor.

Closing the Guardianship of a Minor - When can funds be turned over to a minor who has become 18? Can distribution be made to the minor prior to the approval of the final account?

No. Ordinarily, the Final Account is approved, and then distribution is made to the minor. This process takes 60-90 days after the minor has become 18 because a final account must be prepared and filed, reviewed by the auditing staff, and approved by the Court. When the assets are paid to the emancipated minor, the guardian must get a signed receipt and file it in the Probate Division with the auditor who audited the final account.

Definition - What is a guardian of a minor’s estate?

A guardian of a minor’s estate is a person appointed by the Court to handle the assets of a minor and to safeguard them until the minor becomes 18.

Definition - What is a minor?

A minor is a person under the age of 18.

Definition: What is a bond?

Bond is a type of insurance. A guardian appointed by the Court must purchase a bond in an amount of the assets that the guardian will be holding plus one year’s income. If the guardian misappropriates the money, the bonding company will pay the money back up to the amount of the bond.

Fees - Can I file a petition for fees even when I am entitled to commissions?

Yes. A guardian who is an attorney may file a petition for reasonable attorney’s fees for preparing pleadings filed with the Court and for other necessary legal services rendered.

Fees - Do I file a petition for turnover commission?

No. A petition for turnover commission is not ordinarily required. Note the following exceptions: (1) If the guardianship terminates because of the guardian’s death, resignation, or incapacity, a statement of services shall be filed in support of the turnover commission claims. (2) If within three years of the guardian’s appointment, a guardianship terminates because of the minor’s death or attainment of the age of majority, and if the assets to be turned over exceed $100,000.00, the guardian shall file a statement of service in support of the turnover commission claimed or apply for a waiver of the statement of services by filing a written request with the Court. Note that pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 225(h), the Court may, at any time, require a statement of services to determine an appropriate commission in any particular case.

Fees - How is a guardian compensated?

Pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 225(a), a guardian may elect to claim an ordinary commission in an interim account for ordinary services rendered not to exceed 5% of the amounts disbursed from the estate of the minor. The commission cannot be paid until the account is approved. Pursuant to Superior Court, Probate Division Rule 225(d), for final accounts, a guardian may elect to claim ordinary and turnover commissions in an amount not to exceed 5% of the net assets to be turned over to the minor who has now emancipated. The amount or percentage requested need only be reflected in the account.

Fees -Can I file a petition for fees even when I am entitled to commissions?

Yes. A guardian who is an attorney may file a petition for reasonable attorney’s fees for preparing pleadings filed with the Court and for other necessary legal services rendered.

Getting Started - A child is an heir in an estate or is entitled to receive insurance proceeds or the proceeds of a lawsuit. What do I do?

If the child lives in the District of Columbia, file a petition for appointment of a guardian of the estate of the minor, so that there is a guardian to whom the money can be paid. The guardian will hold the funds until the minor becomes age 18 and will then distribute them to the emancipated minor.

Getting Started - Are forms available for filing?

The forms are available online. Print them out to file. The forms must be filed in person because the proposed guardian and minor must meet with an Assistant Deputy Register of Wills.

Getting Started - Are there any fees associated with filing a petition for appointment of the guardian of the estate of a minor?

There is no Court cost to file a petition to become a guardian of the estate of a minor.
 

Getting Started - Can I file a petition for appointment as guardian of the person of the minor with the Probate Division?

No. The Probate Division handles guardianships of the property or assets of a minor. The Family Division handles petitions for appointment of a custodian of a child when one is needed to make care or custody decisions. A petition for appointment as custodian should be filed in the Family Division.

Getting Started - Does a guardian need an attorney?

Anyone can file a petition for the appointment of a guardian of the estate of a minor. However, it is advisable to seek legal assistance if the petition is difficult to understand or the situation is complicated or unusual.

Getting Started - How does one become a guardian?

File a petition for appointment of a guardian of the estate of a minor, a bond, consents from the minor’s parents (if they do not both sign the petition for appointment), an order, and a nomination of guardian signed by the minor if the minor is age 14 or older. The Court will review the documents filed and decide whether appointment of a guardian is appropriate and, if so, who to appoint. Both the minor and the proposed guardian must appear at the Probate Division and meet with an Assistant Deputy Register of Wills at the time of the filing of the petition.

Getting Started - If I cannot find a parent, what do I do? How do I provide the required notice?

A parent who cannot be located and therefore has not consented to a petition for appointment of a guardian of the estate of a minor can be served by publication or some other method for good cause shown if the Court so orders.

Getting Started - If the minor lives outside D.C. and a civil lawsuit is pending in the District, can a guardianship case be opened and administered in the District

No. A petition for the appointment of a guardian of the estate of the minor should be filed in the state where the minor lives.

Getting Started - Is it possible to wait until the minor has reached the age of majority so that the emancipated minor can collect the assets directly and not open a guardianship of the estate?

Sometimes, waiting is possible. For example, if the asset consists of the proceeds of an insurance policy and the company has a procedure for holding the assets, waiting may be an option. If the minor is seventeen and will emancipate soon, waiting may be an option. Each situation is different. Consult counsel for options.

Getting Started - What are the rights of the minor?

A minor who is fourteen or older has the right to nominate a guardian.

Getting Started - What happens if I am not the custodial parent of the minor?

The parents of the minor have priority under the law in the District of Columbia to serve as the guardian of a minor, and a custodial parent is more likely to be appointed as a guardian than a noncustodial parent. If custody of the child has been granted to a nonparent by the Court, that custodian is more likely to be appointed than the parents.

Getting Started - What options other than opening a guardianship are available?

Other possibilities depend on the facts of the situation. Consult an attorney for advice.

Getting Started - Where can I obtain legal assistance?

The Probate Division can provide information but not legal advice. For legal advice, consult an attorney. Assistance is available to specialized communities from (1) Jan. 2010 Legal Counsel for the Elderly - 202-434-2120, (2) Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia - 202-628-1161, (3) Neighborhood Legal Services - 202-269-5100 and 202-678-2000, and (4) University Legal Services - 202-547-0198.

Getting Started - Why is bond necessary? What happens if a potential guardian is unable to obtain bond?

Bond protects the assets of the minor. A guardian of a minor must be bonded in the amount of the assets that the guardian will be holding plus one year’s worth of income from those assets. If the guardian misappropriates the assets, the bonding company will reimburse the estate of the minor in the amount that was mishandled up to the value of the bond. The Court is not likely to appoint anyone who cannot obtain bond as a guardian.

Other Questions - What is the procedure for obtaining a foreign subpoena from the Probate Division?

Submit a copy of the foreign subpoena, a completed Probate Division PBM subpoena form http://www.dccourts.gov/internet/documents/ForeignSubpoena.pdf, and a $10.00 fee for each subpoena requested to the Probate Clerk’s Office in the Probate Division on the third floor at 515 5th Street, NW, Washington, DC. Make sure that the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all counsel of record and of all parties not represented by counsel are included either in the foreign subpoena or on the second page of the PBM subpoena form. If medical records are being requested, the copy of the foreign subpoena must be certified, and the filer will be referred to Judge-in- Chambers for issuance of the subpoena.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor - Is court approval required prior to investing the minor’s funds?

Yes. A Petition for Authority To Invest or for Approval of Investment Plan or Program and documentation in support of that request can be filed for the Court’s consideration.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor - What are the rights of parents or custodians of minors with respect to notices?

Notices do not have to be sent to parents or custodians. However, a parent or custodian can ask the Court to be allowed to participate as a party by filing a Petition for Permission To Participate. If the Court grants the request, the parent or custodian then has the right to receive copies of all documents that are filed.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor - What documents need to be verified to be filed in the Probate Division?

The following pleadings must be verified to be filed in the Probate Division:

1. All Petitions - SCR-PD 2(b) and 3
2. Complaints filed in Probate Matters - SCR-PD 107(a), and 208(a)
3. Accounts - DC Code 20-721
4. Inventories - DC Code 20-711
5. Guardian Reports - SCR-PD 328
6. Assignments - SCR-PD 120 and 420
7. Claims - DC Code 20-905(a)
8. Affidavits of Mailing and Non-Mailing in Standard Probate - SCR-PD 403(a)(8)
9. Any Affidavit - SCR-CIV 9
10. Verification and Certificate of Notice - SCR-PD 403(b)(3)
11. Certificate of Completion - SCR-PD 426 According to SCR-CIV 11, no other pleadings
need be verified. Accordingly, motions, answers, responses and oppositions do not need to be verified.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor -Can bond premiums be paid from the minor’s funds?

Yes, without prior Court approval. The invoice and proof of payment must be attached to the account.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor -How can money from the guardianship be spent? Can guardianship funds be used to pay for gifts, equipment, and other things that the guardian wants for the minor?

The funds of a minor can only be spent on three types of expenditures without prior Court order: (1) the bond premium, (2) Court costs, and (3) income tax on the money of the minor that is being held by the guardian. All other expenditures must be preapproved by the Court. To obtain approval, the guardian files a Petition for Authority To Expend Funds, asking the Court to approve a particular expenditure and attaches any backup documentation, such as the quote for a computer or the brochure for a summer camp. A Financial Statement from the parent(s) should also be attached. Parents are responsible for food, clothing, shelter, and medical care for minors, and the Court will wish to know why the parent is not paying if the expenditure that is being requested is for one of those expenses.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor -In an emergency, can money be spent without the permission of the Court and the expenditures later be presented to court for ratification?

Ordinarily, the funds of a minor are not to be used for the support of the minor because parents are responsible for support. Therefore there should be no emergencies. If an emergency does occur and the guardian spends money without prior Court approval, the guardian can file a petition for ratification (approval) of the expenditure but will be personally responsible for repaying the money if the Court does not ratify (approve) the expenditure.

Serving as a Guardian of a Minor -The guardian will not respond. What do I do?

It depends upon your relationship to the case and what you are asking the guardian to do. If the minor’s money is needed for care of the minor and you are the caretaker of the child, petition the Court to approve the expenditure. However, be advised that the Court will wish to know that the expenditure is in the best interests of the child in the view of the guardian.