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What is a supported decision maker?

Do you know of an elderly person in Texas who may be in need of some assistance but for whom a full guardianship might be overkill? It is logical to consider alternatives to a professional guardianship given the restrictive nature of this approach. While a guardianship can serve a valuable purpose, it is not right for every person or situation. Some people may well benefit from a relatively new alternative known as supported decision making.

The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services explains that supported decision making was only instituted by the state legislature two years ago. However, it offers many useful features that may well help some people to avoid a guardianship situation. First, a person must be identified as the designated supported decision maker and then a agreement outlining the relationship must be created. The agreement should clearly stipulate what decisions the support person will be responsible for and what will be outside the scope of the agrement or relationship.

It is important for people to know that with supported decision making, the elderly or disabled person retains the right to make his or her own decisions. The supported decision maker's role is to manage the execution of that person's wishes. This may involve both active steps or communicating the person's wishes to others.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give Texas residents an overview about one of the options that may be able to help avoid the need for a full legal guardianship of an elderly person.

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