Supported Decision Making
Governor Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act 380 into law on April 24, 2019. The new law recognizes Supported Decision-Making Agreements as a valid way for someone to demonstrate decision-making capacity in Indiana and requires Less Restrictive Alternatives (LRAs), including Supported Decision-Making to be considered before the court will appoint a guardian.
Supported Decision Making Facts
- All people use Supported Decision Making (SDM) to make important life decisions for such things as financial decisions, buying a house or car, car repairs, education or choices in medical treatments.
- Supported Decision Making empowers individuals with disabilities who are capable of making decisions to use available supports to make their own choices and live a self-directed, independent life.
- Even if a person with a disability needs extra help to make significant life decisions, their right to make their own choices should not be taken away (such as guardianship) without exploring all options and less-restrictive alternatives.
- Supported Decision Making does not replace more formal substitute decision making legal structures, such as Advanced Health Care Directives, Powers of Attorney, or guardianships.
- Supported Decision Making is one more alternative, another tool in the toolbox, and would be the least restrictive option, enabling people to use their own support systems and family to obtain information and make decisions instead of having someone else make decision for them.
- Supported Decision Making agreements formalize the use of these support structures to obtain and assess information to make decisions.
- Supported Decision Making agreements would be less costly to both the State and the consumer by avoiding expensive court process and unnecessary legal fees.
- Under a Supported Decision Making agreement the supporter can:
- Obtain and understand information relevant to his or her decisions.
- Help the individual understand the options, responsibilities, and consequences of his or her decisions.
- Communicate decisions to the appropriate people.
- Assist in, but not make decisions for, the individual that has chosen them for guidance.