We get by with a little help from our friends – Supported Decision-Making Agreements for functionally impaired adults.

In April 2018, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed legislation to create Chapter 52 of the Wisconsin Statutes, authorizing the use of Supported Decision-Making Agreements in the State of Wisconsin.   Wis. Stat. § 52.01(6) defines “supported decision-making” as “a process of supporting and accommodating an adult with a functional impairment to enable the adult to make life decisions… without impeding the self-determination of the adult.”

Accordingly, a Supported Decision-Making Agreement can authorize the principal’s supporter (or supporters, if the principal desires more than one) to assist the principal in a number of ways, including:

a.  Providing supported decision-making to the principal, including assistance in understanding the options, responsibilities, and consequences of the principal’s life decisions, without making those decisions on behalf of the principal;

b.  Assisting the principal in accessing, collecting, and obtaining information that is relevant to a given life decision, and in understanding said information; and

c.  Assisting the principal in communicating his or her decisions to the appropriate persons.

A Supported Decision-Making Agreement cannot be used as evidence of incapacity or incompetency of the principal, and is revocable by the principal at any time.  Because of their flexibility, Supported Decision-Making Agreements may (and in many cases, should) be used in conjunction with powers of attorney for finances and healthcare.  Importantly, Supported Decision-Making Agreements must now be considered as a potentially less restrictive alternative to guardianship, and may also be used in conjunction with a full or limited guardianship.

If you have any questions on this topic, please contact Attorney Emily E. Ames at eames@llattorneys.com or (920) 393-1190.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal advice from Lin Law LLC or the individual author.  Please consult an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction for information regarding your individual situation. 

Posted in Elder Law & Special Needs Planning.