Can Supported Decision-Making Be Used With Other Alternatives?
Using Supported Decision-Making With Other Options
Supported Decision-Making (SDM) can incorporate estate planning tools like powers of attorney and health care surrogate designations.
SDM allows a person with a disability (“decision-maker”) to appoint people they trust (“supporters”) to help them make decisions. Each decision-maker is different. Each decision-maker has their own preference for how they want to be supported. Supporters generally give decision-makers advice rather than acting for them. But a decision-maker might ask their supporters to do certain things for them. For example, a decision-maker may want their supporter to deposit checks for them or make certain medical decisions. A decision-maker could accomplish this by signing a power of attorney or health-care surrogate designation in addition to creating a Supported Decision-Making Agreement (SDMA).
In the example above, the SDMA would detail what the supporter will do. The power of attorney and/or health care surrogate designation would then give the supporter the additional legal authority needed to actually do it.
Can Supported Decision-Making be used with guardianship or guardian advocacy?
Supported Decision-Making (SDM) can help an adult with developmental disabilities learn how to make decisions. Florida’s guardianship law requires people under guardianship to be as independent as possible, including having their preference as to place and standard of living honored. Florida law also requires guardians and guardian advocates to state in the annual plan what they are doing to help the person in their care enhance their capacity. SDM is a great way to comply with both of these legal requirements. Though the guardian and guardian advocate would still have the final say, SDM can be a great way to keep the person under guardianship or guardian advocacy involved and practicing decision making skills. It can also be useful in terminating the guardianship or guardian advocacy, when appropriate. Guardians and guardian advocates who want to use SDM should understand that their relationship with the person under their care may have to change. The goal in SDM is to provide the decision-maker with more freedom, the opportunity to try new things, and to learn from their mistakes.