Photo Credit: The NY Alliance

If a person with intellectual disabilities, not currently under guardianship, enters into a Supported Decision-making Agreement (SDMA) s/he should be able to present it to third parties in order to indicate who her supporters are, and in what way (helping her/him to communicate, receive information, etc.) they are supporting her, and have those third parties deal with her and her supporters as they would with any other competent adult.

At present, third parties are not legally required to accept SDMAs in New York, although there is Supported Decision-Making legislation in other states including Texas and Delaware. A goal of the SDMNY project is to provide an empirical basis for passage of similar legislation, which creates both an obligation on third parties, and a safe haven protecting them from liability.

If a person with intellectual disabilities is currently subject to guardianship, but has gone through the facilitation process developed by SDMNY and entered into an SDMA, it is possible to petition for termination of the guardianship pursuant to SCPA 1759(2) on the grounds that, because of the existence of a supported decision-making regime, as demonstrated by the SDMA, guardianship is no longer necessary or in the person with intellectual disabilities’ best interest. See, e.g. Matter of Dameris