top of page

Supported Decision Making

Uniting for Change believes in self-determination and the power of making your own decisions. Supported Decision-Making, an alternative to guardianship, is the process of appointing trusted people to help you make your own choices.


Supported Decision Making is human decision making - many of us use SDM in our daily lives. It provides opportunities for people to have more choice and control over their lives while gaining new skills and learning along the way. You decide your dreams and goals, the support you need to achieve them, and the people you want supporting you. It's important that you know your rights and speak up for what you need. 

You can use a Supported Decision Making Agreement to help set boundaries and clarify roles and expectations of supporters. While not legally binding, SDM Agreements can be shared with teachers, doctors, lawyers, and others to communicate how you use SDM to make your choices.

Alternatives to guardianship

Power of Attorney 

You can decide to give another adult legal authority to make certain decisions on your behalf. You decide how much power to give and you can take that power away at any time. 

Advance Directive

Tells the medical community and support network what the person wants to happen if they cannot communicate because of a medical event or accident. You can name a healthcare agent to support you and discuss what life sustaining measures you want in place. 

Representative Payee

A representative payee is someone appointed to help a person manage their social security benefits. They are supposed to make sure the person has what they need. 


People with disabilities may need support in making decisions about living arrangements, health care, relationships, and financial matters. But they do not necessarily need a guardian to make those decisions for them. In a guardianship, the court determines that a person is not capable of making decisions and appoints a legal guardian. 

It can be very difficult to get out of a guardianship once it has been ordered by the court.  The legal community does not agree on a set definition of what capacity means and how much a guardian controls can vary.  It is really important that legal guardianship becomes one of the last options considered when someone needs support making decisions.

I Decide Georgia

I DECIDE Georgia is a coalition of advocates, organizations, and allies who believe in the dignity of every person. I DECIDE Georgia exists so that all Georgians, including people with disabilities, can make decisions, supported by people they trust, in order to live a life of dignity and autonomy. Visit the I Decide Georgia website for helpful resources, tools, guides, and other information about Supported Decision Making.

bottom of page