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Is Supported Decision-Making a Good Alternative to Guardianship?

 Posted on January 13, 2023 in Elder Law

san antonio elder law attorneyFor those who are caring for elderly family members or who are living with a disability, guardianship can be a daunting prospect. When a legal guardian is appointed, this can result in a loss of rights for the ward, who may no longer be able to make decisions about their medical treatment, their personal care, or their financial affairs. To ensure that a person can maintain more control over their life, there is an alternative to guardianship in the form of supported decision-making. By understanding the benefits provided by this option, elders and their loved ones can determine whether it will be a good solution for them.

What Is Supported Decision-Making?

Supported decision-making enables people who may need assistance managing their affairs to make their own choices with the help of a trusted friend or family member. It gives individuals the freedom to make decisions for themselves with assistance from someone they trust. This approach can provide a meaningful way for seniors and people with disabilities to stay in control of their lives while still receiving the help they need.

Advantages of Supported Decision-Making Over Guardianship

Unlike guardianship, in which a court will grant another person legal authority over an elder or disabled person, supported decision-making will involve an agreement signed by the disabled adult and their supporter. In addition to allowing for more flexibility, supported decision-making can save time and money, since court hearings and court oversight will not be needed. Supported decision-making allows individuals to retain control over their own lives while still having access to trusted advisors who can provide guidance and assistance when needed. This gives them more autonomy and freedom to make their own choices without the fear of exploitation or manipulation by others. It also ensures that any decisions made will reflect the wishes of the individual rather than those of another person or organization.

Creating a Supported Decision-Making Agreement

When entering into a supported decision-making agreement, a person will designate a supporter who will provide them with assistance. The supporter is required to act in good faith for the benefit of the disabled adult and avoid any conflicts of interest. The disabled adult may specify the decisions that the supporter will assist with, which may include ensuring that they have the proper food, clothing, and shelter; addressing issues related to their physical or mental health; assisting with financial matters; securing benefits and services as needed; and helping them pursue education or employment.

The agreement will state that the supporter is not authorized to make decisions on behalf of the disabled adult. Instead, they can provide assistance in making decisions by gathering relevant information, providing advice on the available options, and communicating decisions to the appropriate people. If necessary, the disabled adult may give the supporter authorization to access their medical and/or educational records.

Contact Our San Antonio Elder Law Attorneys

Supported decision-making can be a great alternative to guardianship for elders and people with disabilities in Texas who want to maintain control over their own lives while still receiving assistance when needed. It provides them with autonomy while protecting them from potential exploitation by giving them access to trusted allies who can provide guidance when needed. If you are an elder who needs assistance with certain issues, or if you need to determine how you can provide help for an elderly or disabled loved one, The Law Office of Ryan C. Moe, PLLC can help you explore your options and determine whether supported decision-making may be the right choice for you. To learn how we can help with these issues, contact our San Antonio, TX guardianship lawyers at 210-861-6000.


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