Protecting the Right to Make Choices

When it comes to protecting the Right to Make Choices, everyone needs a little help.

In most states, people who are facing a guardianship petition can have an attorney appointed to represent them. You can learn about your state’s law in our In Your State section.

But, what if your attorney needs some help? Sometimes, attorneys aren’t well trained or are handcuffed by bad laws. For example, in Washington DC, a Court decided that attorneys can’t argue that a person does not need a guardian if a guardian ad litem believes he or she does. This decision denies people their right to counsel and can result in the Court never hearing what they want.

We advocated for the District to change its law to make sure people have an equal say and that their attorneys have an equal chance to help them. Recently, the DC Council passed a new guardianship bill. While it does not make all the changes we wanted, it would be a huge improvement to the old system.

We continue to advocate for better laws and policies to protect everyone’s Right to Make Choices. We also provide training to attorneys, advocates, and professionals to make sure they are in the best position to protect everyone’s rights.

Our Testimony before the DC Council on 7/8/2013 – Jonathan Martinis, Legal Director
Watch our testimony (beginning at 1:56:19 of the video)

Our Testimony before the DC Council on 10/15/2014 – Morgan K. Whitlatch, Senior Attorney
Watch Our Testimony (beginning at 1:28:20 of the video)

Our Letter to the DC Council
Guardianship Amendment Act of 2014 (project law date: March 11, 2015)