Alternatives to Guardianship


Dallas, Texas Guardianship Attorneys

Supported Decision Making 

In 2015, Texas became the first state to legally recognize supported decision-making agreements as an informal alternative to guardianship. In a supported decision-making agreement, a person with a disability chooses someone they trust to serve as their supporter. The supporter can help the individual with a disability understand the option, responsibilities, and consequences of their decisions. The supporter cannot, however, make a decision for the person with a disability. These agreements can be provided to people like doctors and service providers. 

Less Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship 

Supported Decision Making is the least restrictive alternative to guardianship, but depending on the case, a different approach may be more appropriate.  In some cases, an individual will retain some, but not all, control over decisions. A representative can be designated to make decisions for an individual in specific areas. Some less restrictive examples include:  

  • Powers of Attorney 
  • Representative Payee Agreements
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • Healthcare or Advanced Directives 

More Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship 

A limited or temporary guardianship is limited in which areas they act as the decision-maker for the individual, or serves only for a specific amount of time. A limited or temporary guardianship will be tailored by the court, depending on the circumstance.  

Why Consider Alternatives to Guardianship? 

Individuals that have the opportunity to make their own decisions become more independent have more successful employment and are better integrated into their communities. There are many different support options available to help individuals who need assistance. Guardianships can be much more resource-intensive than the alternatives, and should only be used as a last resort. 

For adults, guardianship should always be the last resort. Taking away an adult’s ability to make personal decisions takes away a fundamental freedom. That’s why it should only be used in cases of incapacitation. The good news is for adults with disabilities that need help but want to maintain their freedom there are various alternatives to guardianship in Texas.