Supported Decision-Making

Alternatives to Guardianship

Guardianship Alternatives: Supported Decision Making

Supported decision-making is “A process of supporting and accommodating an adult with a disability to enable the adult to make life decisions, including decisions related to where the adult wants to live, the services, supports, and medical care the adult wants to receive, whom the adult wants to live with, and where the adult wants to work, without impeding the self-determination of the adult.”[1. Texas Estates Code § 1357.002(3 ).]

About the Supported Decision-Making Agreement

In a supported decision-making agreement the person chooses someone (called a “supporter”) they trust to help them get information they need to make an informed decision, consider their options, understand the risks and communicate their decisions to others. The State does not place any restrictions on who may become a supporter. Typically, the supporter may be a family member, relative or friend. But, the adult with a disability may only enter a supported decision-making agreement voluntarily, without being influenced by others.

The person and the supporter fill out and sign a legally valid supported decision-making agreement form and have it witnessed or notarized, as required by law. There is a Supported Decision-Making Agreement form in the Texas Estates Code. There is also a simplified form featured on this website. Both are legally valid. The form you use does not have to be exactly like these two forms, but it has to have all of the same information. The simplified version on this website was reviewed by Disability Rights Texas, the state’s legal protection and advocacy agency.

The agreement does not require attorneys or court filing. It does not allow a supporter to make decisions for the person or act in their place. Both parties keep a copy of the agreement and present it when needed. If they decide to use an attorney, the attorney can keep a copy, too.

The agreement can be created at any time. It can also be ended at any time (A) by the person or their supporter, (B) on a date determined at the beginning of the agreement, or (C) by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services if they find the supporter is abusing, neglecting or exploiting the person being supported.

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More Information

Texas Legislature Online Bill: SB 1881