Guardianship is a legal process used to provide protection for adults who are incapacitated. The Probate Code defines an incapacitated person as: “An adult individual who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter to himself or herself, to care for the individual’s own physical health, or to manage the individual’s own financial affairs.”
GRSDM supports the belief that the majority of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) can manage their own affairs with informal assistance and guidance and do not need a guardian. People with IDD can be supported in many ways to make their own decisions without taking away their rights through a full guardianship.
GRSDM also recognizes that some form of guardianship may sometimes be necessary; however a person should not be presumed to need a guardian simply due to advanced age or the presence of a physical, cognitive and/or mental disability. People should be given the opportunity to avoid or limit guardianship through alternatives.
During the 84th Texas legislature GRSDM recommended seven policy proposals to promote alternatives to guardianship and improve protections for individuals under guardianship. GRSDM’s proposals built upon the volunteer supported decision making pilot created by the Texas Legislature in HB 1454 in 2009. The pilot provided adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities with trained volunteers who assisted them in making life decisions and remaining independent. GRSDM proposals 3-7 were adopted by the Texas Judicial Council.