Guardianship is a legal tool, which allows a person to make decisions for another person. It removes the civil rights and privileges of a person by assigning control of a person’s life to someone else. Although the state directs a court to “design a guardianship to encourage the development or maintenance of maximum self-reliance and independence of the incapacitated person,” it is not uncommon for courts to create full guardianships, which deprive persons with disabilities of the right to make fundamental decisions about their lives.
The vast majority of Texans with disabilities and the elderly can make sound decisions for themselves with appropriate supports. Guardianship removes the person’s personal and civil rights, including the right to say where you live, work, and what you do with your free time. Learn more about Some Alternatives to Guardianship.
Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a new alternative in the Texas Estates Code that supports people to make their own decisions and stay in charge of their lives, while receiving any help they need to do so. In 2015, Texas became the first state to put supported decision-making in law. Learn more about Supported Decision-Making.
If you are a person with a disability or an older adult and you cannot manage your benefits, a representative payee may help ensure that your money is used correctly while still allowing you to make other important decisions about your life. Learn more about Representative Payee.