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In the first half of our series on probate, we talked about the most common types of probate matters: small estate proceedings, large estate proceedings, wills, disclaimers and foreign estate proceedings, and when to file each.
You might be less familiar with the other types of cases handled in probate practice. These cases are called “intervention” proceedings, and include conservatorship and guardianship. These two types of proceedings are filed when a friend, family member or any other interested person is concerned about the welfare of a person and files a petition to become conservator or guardian of a person who may be unable to care for themselves in some way, usually their finances and health.
An intervention case may opened for a person 18 years of age or older who lives in the District of Columbia, is alleged to be incapacitated and in need of the assistance of a guardian, conservator or both. An example of when a conservator or guardianship case is filed is when adult children become concerned about the welfare of an aging parent.
Intervention/Developmental Disability cases are opened when petitions for the appointment of a healthcare guardian are filed by the District of Columbia Department of Disability Services for consumers who are believed to be incapacitated and in need of a guardian for healthcare decisions only. Conservators are not usually appointed in IDD cases.
Intervention cases can be a useful tool to protect your loved ones safe from financial predators, irresponsible family members (or if they are irresponsible), and anyone who may take advantage of aging adults. Keep in mind, however, that evidence is needed to support the need for a guardianship or conservator appointment.
There are four types of petitions that may be filed in an intervention case. In our next post, part 16, we’ll talk about those petitions and when they are used.