I need someone to decide for me

At this level of support, you need help making decisions. In this case, someone may be given the right to make decisions on your behalf in certain areas. When decision-making rights have not been removed, individuals are encouraged to practice supported decision-making. It is important to remember supported decision-making (SDM) applies to all levels of decision-making.

The National Guardianship Association’s position is that individuals still have the right to be involved with decisions that impact their own life. The National Guardianship Association is not the law but it talks about best practices for conservatorships* (called guardianships in other states).

Below are decision-making support documents that are needed when the capacity to make decisions independently does not exists or is limited to specific areas of life such as medical or financial management. For example, an individual may have a conservatorship for medical care but practice supported decision-making in other areas of their life.

Keep in mind, on this site, supported decision-making refers to the idea that a person has the right to make decisions to the full extent of their capacity, even as they get needed support.

Click on each item below for more information.


If an adult with a disability cannot make their own decisions, the court can legally assign someone else to make decisions for them.

Representative Payee

A person who manages your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) check.

Health Care Surrogate

Someone else will make decisions for you about your healthcare if you are unable to make them yourself.

ABLE Account

A savings program that you can use to pay for disability-related expenses.

Special Needs Trust

Legal plan with someone you trust to protect the assets and money of a person with a disability.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No recipients of content from this site, clients or otherwise, should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in the site without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the recipient’s state. The content of this website contains general information and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. The Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Support expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this website.

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