ABA Urges Supported Decision Making as Less-Restrictive Alternative to Guardianship
On August 14, 2017, the American Bar Association’s (ABA) House of Delegates adopted Resolution 113, urging state, territorial, and tribal legislatures to (1) amend their guardianship statutes to require that supported decision making be identified and fully considered as a less restrictive alternative, before guardianship is imposed, and (2) require that decision-making supports that would meet the individual’s needs be identified and fully considered in proceedings for termination of guardianship and restoration of rights. The Resolution further urges courts to consider (1) supported decision making as a less-restrictive alternative to guardianship and (2) decision making supports that would meet the individual’s needs as grounds for termination of a guardianship and restoration of rights. An individual’s right to make decisions about his or her life is a fundamental value in American law. Sponsored by the ABA Commission on Disability Rights, the Commission on Law and Aging, and the Sections of Civil Rights and Social Justice (Disability Rights Committee), and Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, this Resolution continues and furthers the ABA’s long-standing interest in, and commitment to, ensuring that guardianship is a “last resort,” after other, less-restrictive options have been considered. The Resolution recognizes the newly denominated modality of supported decision making—in which people with disabilities make their own decisions with supports, rather than rely on a surrogate—and urges that it be explicitly included in guardianship statutes requiring consideration of less-restrictive alternatives.