(Disclaimer: This is a page made by a citizen with input from other citizens who are trying to help you, but it is NOT professional legal advice. 

The authors are NOT acting as attorneys by giving this advice. 

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Protecting persons with special needs by preserving their rights and  stopping probate corruption
with a new, Non-PARTISAN approach to

-Taking care of people with extra needs RATHER than resorting to guardianship and conservatorship- 

and escaping from  guardianship when it goes horribly wrong

See the law proposal HERE


1) Declarations

2) Definition of terms


4) Supported Decision Making Agreement Model

3) Checklist Options And SDM Agreement Form

4) FAQ Page

The following is what Guardianship and Conservatorship often looks like. The States created it as an intended protection, but it turned out to be a path to legalized exploitation by the protectors. The text you are about to read defines the actual problem in how it works out from the perspective of the person subjected to it. This is a very common and frequent situation across America. It applies to the elderly and to persons with disabilities, regardless of the severity of those disabilities. All of it comes from typical true accounts. The cases usually follow the same pattern or differ only slightly.

I'm an adult with a mind, a soul, and desires for how I envision my life-

I have never committed a crime, and am considered normal for my age.

I have been discriminated against because of my age and some disabilities.

Strangers took over my whole life, saying it was to protect me. They gave my rights to other strangers.

I was not in any danger, and I had help with the things I need, but which I have trouble doing alone.

I was satisfied, and had adequate care with that help.

Despite the law and the US Constitution, they deprived me of ALL of my rights.

They took me to court, but neglected to tell me.

I had no lawyer. I was not there. No evidence or little evidence was used against me other than the opinion of a stranger who had no qualification to assess me or my situation.

I have not been allowed to obtain my own lawyer, but must accept one appointed by a judge who is determined to undermine my case and my justice.

I was taken from my home and placed in a facility.

I was not allowed to visit my own house, and my family were ordered not to enter my property, even if I wanted them to do that. My Constitutional right to property was gone.

I was restricted from, and even disallowed to see my family and friends. My Constitutional rights to free association was gone.

I wasn't even allowed out to vote.

My family fought back in court, but they did not realize the judge was abusing judicial discretion to violate my rights, the law, and due process, intentionally allowing the guardian and conservator to exploit me for extreme profit.

By stirring up conflict, the guardian and conservator assured legal action, which they could bill me for.

They did this, and hired services I didn't need, racking up unnecessary bills that made an excuse to sell my family home. Then they pocketed a huge percentage of my home's value for themselves.

They destroyed my life and destroyed our family.

They sold and gave away all of my life's possessions, everything I cared about and reminded me of what my life had been, even our family photos, my clothes, my furniture, all into the trash or given away, just to clear the way to sell our home.

I am a prisoner, isolated from everything I care about. My Constitutional right to liberty was gone.

I have been made legally helpless, with no way to defend myself.

I exist now only to enrich others- like a slave.

Who protects me from my “protectors?”My Constitutional right to life is gone.

Our version of the Supported Decision Making Law concept says that the right of self-determination is inherent in the US Constitution, and allows a person to set up Supported Decision Making automatically -if they so desire. The court cannot stop that in THIS version unless a medical/psychatric opinion based on a full evaluation shows that the person is so unconscious or crazy that they are likely to kill themself or someone else. Why? Because when you open the door to taking away rights, you encourage and enable vulnerability and exploitation/abuse. You actually make people MORE vulnerable and helpless, which is the OPPOSITE of what guardianship says it is there to do. Far too often, this becomes exactly what guardianship DOES. Innocent people are drawn into the system and robbed.

click for:



This is a Federal Law proposal, but should also be adopted by States as soon as possible. It has been shown to legislators, attorneys, and victims across the United States and is getting very approving reviews.
Here's what it does:

*It provides a path for Supported Decision Making.
*It lays it right down on top of existing State Laws as an “escape clause” to evade abusers who are
guardians or conservators have become exploitative or abusive.
*It makes people less vulnerable by affirming their Constitutional Rights rather than taking those rights away and making them powerless.
 *It takes most of the power away from the courts, which saves time and money.
 *It forces states to comport with the US Constitution, thus supporting YOUR Constitutional rights.
*It takes away the prize that tempts fiduciaries and judges into being crooks.
It costs almost nothing to implement.

In other words: It is a win on all levels-
(unless you are a crook!)

So what's the point?

Supported Decision Making is all about protecting the person AND their rights to self-determination. This is currently not done very well in the USA. Nobody wants some stranger inserting them self into their life and telling them what they can and can't do, and then getting paid richly for that control. The new proposal creates a system which offers a method of care and support which gives a person all of the help and protections which were promised by guardianship and conservatorship, but without depriving the individual of their Constitutional and statutory rights -which is exactly what they do to you in probate court when they appoint you a guardian and conservator.

There have been many plans out there for Supportive Decision Making assistance for people with cognitive decline or physical disabilities. The catch is that the States have laws establishing guardianship and conservatorship only if no less restrictive option is available, but the less restrictive options between that and Durabl Power of Attorney are essentially non-existent. There is no real provision for using Supportive Decision Making as it should be done. For example, in Michigan you can have Durable Power of Attorney given to someone, and that allows them many powers to act on your behalf, but it can be taken away by a judge on the word of a third party who may be trying to exploit you. And in Michigan, there are several laws that say a judge must design and limit guardianships to the needs of the individual, but they don't usually do that. In practice, they effectivelly just take all of your ights away and give them to the guardian and conservators. You are left with no power to exercise your statutory rights, and no power over your life.

What is needed is:

True protection and a path to provide the needs of a cognitively challenged person,
A high bar to remove your self-determination rights which must be documented by a doctor, not a judge who has no psychological or medical expertise/qualification
An Escape Clause
A direct, specific checklist of powers that are to be shared

The system must also ensure the person is best protected from exploitation and abuse, and sometimes even harm from them self (including their own inabilities or negligence due to infirmity).

But where do you draw the line between the harm that any unwise person "might" do to them self by being unwise, foolish, taking risks, laziness, etc. vs. the unwanted and unavoidable harm which "might" happen because of mental dficiency, depression, substance addiction, or insanity?

That has always been the big dilema facing law makers regarding guardianships and conservatorships.

Default Supportive Decision Making is the answer.

Any rational person wants to get by and survive. Any human being who embraces that desire doesn't need a guardian or conservator.

What they need is a Supportive Decision Making Assistant and Supportive Decision Making Agreement with them that outlines which powers they share, and to what extent. In such a system, the person always has the power to design, accept or decline, terminate or change the agreement. And there are safe guards.
And bonus-  you don't have to waste valueable time and money with lawyers and the court.
Justice delayed is justice denied. -Especially for the elderly.

We all need:
Federal Legislative Solution To Greatly Reduce Or Eliminate Professional Guardianship/Conservatorship Exploitation And Abuse By Corrupt State Probate Court Enablement Of Professional Fiduciary Fraud And Other Abuses under Color Of Law.




*The US Constitution guarantees the rights to Life, Liberty, Property, Due Process and Equal Treatment under the Law.

(Life, Liberty and the pursuit of "happiness" is from the Declaration of Independence. It is not the actual law.)

*Constitutional rights are often stripped entirely from persons who are deemed by a court to require certain alleged “protections” which deprive them of their rights. Reasons for these deprivations under State Law include some degree of diminished cognitive/mental capacity or competency, age, or physical disability. The person with suspected disability is often denied Due Process, legal representation or choice of legal representative, may not be informed of the proceeding or be present, and little or no evidence might be presented before the court.

*The Supremacy clause of the US Constitution means the US Constitution supersedes State laws not delegated to the States. Therefore, when State Laws allow a judge (who is not a qualified determiner of mental or physical condition and ability) to effectively remove rights from an Individual, even if they are not fully competent or mentally incapacitated, and then without a medical or psychiatric evaluation determining that such action is necessary to preserve life, and then giving those rights to another person by appointing that other person a as a fiduciary over that Individual, then those laws are inherently unconstitutional, and the court is violating the rights of the individual.

*The nature of removing rights and transferring them to a third party specifically makes it impossible or nearly impossible for the Individual to effectively challenge a wrongful action because the person they challenge has been given full control of the Individual and their money. The restrictions on communications, access to representation which is not appointed by a potentially corrupt judge, the Individual's disability level (executive function), the loss of control of one's own money, and in many cases court action exceeds the life of the victim, all unfairly restrict and obstruct the Individual from justice and leave them vulnerable to exploitation. For these reasons, Challenges of Constitutionality are rare and have not overturned State Laws which violate Federal law. Many cases are never brought to court.

*The typical Probate Court practice under State law often violates State law as well as Due Process and other Constitutional Rights. The inherent and common discrimination violates the Americans With Disabilities Act. Guardians frequently deprive wards of their rights under the Olmstead Act. And when a judge enables and supports fiduciaries in deprivation of rights, then both the judge and the fiduciary have committed violations of Title 18, sections 241 and 242, Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law.

*By the US Constitution, the right to Self-Determination of a person is Inviolate if they have not been convicted of a crime. Other rights which arguably can be restricted by States to preserve safety for severe cognitive infirmity should not be removable where no crime or danger exists as recognized by an appropriate medical or psychiatric doctor in writing after an appropriate full evaluation which indicates that the Individual presents a clear, unambiguous, and continuing threat to their own life or that of another.

*The accuracy of scientific medical or psychiatric measure of competency is limited by a myriad of factors which affect testing and lead to subjectivity in determinations. Such factors include but are not limited to: medications, language, hearing, ethnicity/culture, vision, muscle control, mood, amount of sleep, amount of exercise, isolation effects, personality, memory, mental focus, anxiety, education, isolated damage to specific brain regions affecting limited tasks, etc. Nevertheless, informal cognition tests which are too superficial to be used as proofs of incapacity, such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment and Mini Mental Status Exam are often used as the only alleged evidence against an Individual. If the doctor is brought as a witness, the testimony often reveals only a brief examination rather than a responsible assessment.

*It is inappropriate for the government officials, including judges, or for doctors to determine or impose their personal belief of what is best for a person who has not been properly evaluated to exhibit a clear, unambiguous and continuing threat to the life of them self or others. Doing so is subjective and a Deprivation of Rights violation. Doctors should be limited to assessing actual capabilities, without regard to personal preference, circumstance or the acts of other persons associated with the Individual.

*Third party threats are never an excuse to deprive any person's rights under the guise of protection. Age or other vulnerability cannot be reason to impose guardianship. Other means of protection exist under the law for persons of all ages and abilities who face the same threats. Making protective acts such as guardianship over a person when such protections exist becomes a discrimination, and thus a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

*Professional guardians and conservators have been shown to be no more likely to be protective over wards than family members or friends. They have inherent self-interest for profit and to protect themselves from liabilities, thus leading to excessive restrictions on liberty and life choices of the Individual. When guardians and conservators are also probate attorneys, they have a better understanding of how to manipulate the law and court in order to exploit an Individual without being held accountable.

* Courts unfairly favor professional fiduciaries for the amount they may charge wards, especially attorneys, by allowing them to charge high enough fees for their services to be far more lucrative than Social Workers or Accountants. By contrast, family or friends are seldom approved to charge for services. Professional fiduciary fees are expensive and frequently cause unnecessary drains on the financial means of their wards. Courts award attorney-fiduciaries the right to charge very high fees not available to others in order to make guardianship and conservatorship financially lucrative enough to interest an attorney, but the ward receives no greater level of care expertise from an attorney. This arrangement is a cornerstone of probate corruption.

*Fiduciary costs per hour can be far higher than the ward can afford, creating a dark ripple effect. The costs artificially waste the estate until there is no choice but to place the ward in a facility long before they physically or cognitively require that. The fees often cause the liquidation of estates and greater losses to the remaining family and heirs. The consequence for the ward is often depression leading to decline in mental and physical health, disease acquired at a facility from transmission that would not have occurred at home, and often early death.

*Family members and friends who are trusted by the Individual are usually the most likely and motivated to act positively for the person. That is not always the case, but the right to decide that should rest with the person who would otherwise lose their rights.


“Individual” : In this document, the person who is the subject of the Supported Decision Making system. Any adult person who believes they require a third party to help them cope with mental or physical reduced ability. The Individual can also be a person who has been examined by any medical doctor for physical impairment, or a psychiatrist for mental impairment, and such a determination entered on their medical record, or the court has imposed guardianship and/or conservatorship over the person.

“SDM”: Supported Decision Making. A legal or informal agreement for a third party chosen by an Individual to have powers to advise and/or act for the benefit of the Individual, with the consent of the Individual. The SDM agreement is revocable by the Individual at will.

“D-SDM” Default SDM An SDM system which is not reliant on court decision and supersedes previous guardianship/conservatorship when initiated by an Individual.

“SDMA” Supported Decision Maker Assistant. A person who enters into a formal agreement with an Individual. The SDMA must be an adult.

“D-SDMLP” Default Supportive Decision Making Law Proposal

“GUARDIANSHIP” A specific State supported relationship where one person is given a high degree of control over the life, rights and possessions of another person.

“CONSERVATORSHIP” For purposes of this document, a version of Guardianship where the control is limited to financial maters of an Individual who has significant financial assets, including property.




Any person who believes they need help making decisions or in managing their life to a significant degree because they believe they have a reduced mental or physical ability may voluntarily, and without undue influence or coercion, enter into a formal legal agreement for Supported Decision Making and Care Assistance.

1) The SDM Agreement always provides the SDMA with legal authority to obtain certain specified information in order to discuss the merits of a decision with the individual and assist them in making their best choice.

2) The SDMA is a single person, not a company, who is chosen by and specified by the Individual, and cannot be nominated by or appointed by the court.

3) The Individual may enter into SDM Agreements with more than one person, and those persons may be provided the same or different authority.

4) The Individual may seek a doctor's or other trusted person's advice on whether to enter a SDM Agreement, what authority to share, and any other aspect of the SDM.

5) Verification of SDM Agreement: The SDM Agreement shall be signed by the SDMA and notarized. If the Individual can physically sign the SDM Agreement, they shall do so. If the Individual cannot physically sign, they may give oral consent before two witnesses who by signing as an Affidavit, they attest that they are an Adult in their State of Residence, not the guardian, conservator or one of their employees, and are not an employee of a facility in which the individual resides.

6) The Start of the SDM Agreement is automatically the date of signing unless the parties designate a later date AND/OR a specific anticipated circumstance.


1) Any person currently under Guardianship or Conservatorship, regardless of any mental or physical deficiency except that described under D-SDMLP 4, may Terminate that guardianship and/or conservatorship by choosing one or more persons to serve as SDMA(s), and by providing a written SDM Agreement to the court where they live. The document may be informal, but must contain at least all of the information found on the corresponding official Form in D-SDMLP 8(I) below.

2) The Individual is presumed to have capacity and competence, and the use of an SDM Agreement shall be considered adequate remedy for any possible incapacity or lack of competence due to any possible cognitive or physical deficiency, which is adequately addressed by SDM Assistance.

3) No person or entity may claim that the execution or use of a Supported Decision Making Agreement is evidence that the Individual does not have mental capacity or that they are incompetent.

4) Execution of a supported decision-making agreement may not be used as evidence for the petition or appointment of a guardianship or conservatorship.

5) A SDM Agreement does not preclude the ability of the Individual who has entered into such a SDM Agreement from acting independently of the agreement.

6) The clerk of the Court may charge a minimal fee to register the SDM Agreement unless the Individual is indigent.


1) Any guardian, conservator, care provider, family member, or any other person who obstructs an Individual from learning about, having access to, or executing any SDM Agreement shall be guilty of a crime punishable by no more than __ in jail and/or a fine of at least $ ___ but not to exceed $___.

2) A guardian and/or conservator must present, explain, and provide their current ward with the option of a SDM Agreement, and confirm that such information and access has been provided by submitting to the Court a copy of the SDM Agreement form, signed by the ward,and with or without designation of a SDMA. Failure by the guardian or conservator to provide this information to the ward within One month of the beginning of their fiduciary appointment or the date on which this law went into effect, whichever came last, shall constitute a crime punishable by no more than __ in jail and/or a fine of at least $ ___ but not to exceed $___.

2) Any SDMA who is convicted of interfering in Bad Faith with the proper informing and consultation with the Individual about a matter or otherwise acting to intentionally misinform the Individual within the scope of the SDM Agreement, and that interference results in loss or damage, is liable for the resulting loss and damage resulting from that interference and shall be fined an additional ____, and shall thereafter be ineligible to serve as the Individual's SDMA.


Upon Receipt of a n Individual 's SDM Agreement, the court must promptly issue an Order on the SDM Agreement Checklist, recognizing the SDM Agreement and appointing legal authority to the person chosen by the Individual, subject to the following:

1) The court shall not withhold any part of the authorization unless it is contraindicated by an appropriate medical or psychiatric evaluation being entered on the Individual's medical record, and which explains why the authorization does not meet the following criteria:

A) An appropriate medical evaluation is conducted by a medical doctor, and shall only concern reasons why the physical impairment would necessarily present a clear and continuous likelihood that the Individual would cause life threatening harm to them self or to another person.

B) An appropriate mental/psychiatric evaluation is conducted by a psychiatrist, and shall only concern reasons why the mental/psychiatric impairment would necessarily present a clear and continuous likelihood that the Individual would cause life threatening harm to them self or to another person.

2) Threats by third parties, economic circumstances, and any other external matters beyond the influence of the Individual shall never be considered reasons for the court to create or retain guardianship or conserevatorship instead of approving SDM Agreements.

3) The Individual has the irrevocable right to seek a medical or psychiatric assessment independent from a qualified specialist of their choice, without the influence of the court or a guardian or conservator.

4) The court shall never impose guardianship or conservatorship upon an Individual, regardless of the mental or physical condition of the Individual without first offering and explaining SDM as an alternative. If the Individual appears to have limited ability to understand, the court shall explain SDM to the best of its ability, accounting for language and education. The court may appoint a guardian and/or conservator if the medical or psychiatric evaluation criteria in this section are met.


An SDM Agreement is revocable in part or entirely by the Individual at will, at any time, without a court hearing unless the circumstance under D-SDMLP 5(C) below applies. An SDM Agreement may be modified in part or entirely by the Individual at any time, without a court hearing. A specific SDMA may be replaced or the terms of their powers altered by the Individual at will, at any time, following the same procedure as the original SDM Agreement.

A) To revoke a SDM Agreement, the Individual must notify the SDMA(s), and notify the court in writing by Court Form or informal, legible letter, signed and dated.

B) To alter terms on an SDM Agreement, including who shall serve as SDMA, which Decisions the SDMA may have powers to affect, or to add or subtract a SDMA, the Individual must notify the SDMA(s), and notify the court in writing by Court Form or informal, legible letter, signed and dated if there are no additions to authority, and notarized if there are additions of authority. Such alteration shall be treated as a new SDM Agreement as set forth in D-SDMLP 1,4,6,7and 8.

C) When an Individual using a SDM Agreement was previously under guardianship or conservatorship which was Terminated by the Individual entering that SDM Agreement, and the Individual revokes their existing SDM Agreement without a replacement agreement, or modifies it to a lesser delegation of powers which are contraindicated by a medical or psychiatric doctor as in D-SDMLP 4 above, the court may automatically appoint a temporary guardian and/or conservator with only the powers equal to the revoked SDM Agreement, and until the Individual submits a replacement SDM Agreement which comports with the medical or psychiatric indications of D-SDMLP 4.

D) If another party wishes to contest a SDMA, they may only do so by alerting authorities that they believe the Individual suffers from a condition described in D-SDMLP 4. That party must obtain that evaluation from an appropriate doctor described in D-SDMLP 4.

E) Third Party Seeking Termination of SDMA:

1) Any person who knows of an SDMA performing the following may petition the court to end the SDM Agreement with the SDMA:

i) Interfering in Bad Faith with the proper informing and consultation with the Individual about a matter, within the scope of their duties,

ii) Willfully misinforming the Individual within the scope of their duties,

ii) Commits conversion, fraud, or other theft against the Individual,

iii) Commits physical, mental or emotional abuse against the individual,

iv) Coercion.

2) The court may remove an SDMA upon a finding that the SDMA did commit an act in

D-SDMLP 5(E)(1)(i) through (iv) if the Individual also agrees with the removal.

3) The court must remove an SDMA upon a conviction that the SDMA did commit one or more acts in D-SDMLP 5(E)(1)(ii), (iii), or (iv).


A) The purpose of the SDMA is:

i) The Primary purpose is to help the Individual understand a topic and make better decisions on topics covered in the SDM Agreement by helping explain the nature of the decision, the pros and cons of the decision choices, and possible outcomes. The SDMA is automatically empowered to access, collect, and obtain the necessary information regarding topics checked in Categories A, B, and C.

ii)The secondary purposes of the SDMA are to help facilitate the decisions made by the Individual, to be aware of the needs of the Individual, and when so selected, to act on behalf of the Individual to manage only affairs in the SDM Agreement in category “B” and/or “C”, and then only with consent of the individual.

(iii) The SDMA's advice shall reflect all aspects of a subject with neutrality and fact, but shall always ensure that the ramifications toward the individual are considered.

B) The SDMA never has the power to override the will of the Individual.

i) The SDMA must inform and consult with the Individual prior to entering agreements, making payments or other significant acts as listed in column “B” if possible.

ii) If it is impossible or unreasonable to inform and consult with the Individual regarding an act in (B)(i) above prior to the time the action must occur, the SDMA must inform and consult with the Individual as soon thereafter as possible.

iii) If the Individual denies consent for the act of the SDMA regarding (B)(i) or (B)(ii) above, the SDMA must immediately reverse the action.

C)The SDMA can be made a co-signing authority regarding any specific Decision where major Decisions indicated in the agreement are legally invalid without the signatures of both the Individual and the SDMA. In such a case the SDMA is not co-signing for co-ownership or co- liability.

D) The SDMA can be delegated full legal authority to act on and sign on behalf of the Individual regarding any specific Decisions indicated in the agreement, but such authority is subject to reversal of that decision by the Individual. These specifically delegated rights of the SDMA supersede those of an existing Durable Power of Attorney, Patient Advocate or Payee. That DPoA, PA, or Payee must be notified by the Individual or the SDMA upon entering the SDM Agreement.

E) When a SDMA believes the Individual is making decisions which they suspect might present a clear and continuous likelihood due to physical or mental/psychiatric condition that the Individual would cause life threatening harm to them self or to another person, the SDMA may refer the Individual for evaluation or seek other assistance.

F) The SDMA is not liable for any acts or decisions made by the Individual which were counseled against or unknown to the SDMA. Nor is the SDMA liable for any contracts, losses, or injury to the Individual as long as the SDMA was innocent of malfeasance.

G) The SDM Agreement does not shield a SDMA from criminal or civil liability for acts that would otherwise be subject to civil or criminal liability. The SDMA would be liable for any damages caused by decisions made and acted upon by the SDMA when shared SDM approval was required but not obtained, or when the SDMA committed a crime, including but not limited to elder abuse, fraud and exploitation.

H) If the SDMA commits a crime using the SDMA authority, the SDMA shall be responsible and liable,but not the Individual .

I) PAY for Professional Services as SDMA: Only a professional SDMA can charge for services, and they may only charge fees at a State set rate determined to be the average rate for a Social Worker or an Accountant, as appropriate for the work being done.

i) The definition of a Professional SDMA is any person employed by a registered company in business to provide SDMA services and receives payment from that company, not direct payment from the Individual. That company may have one or more employees.

ii) The SDMA shall provide to the Individual and their proper designated account manager an invoice for payment of any fees accrued, or expenses fronted by the SDMA with consent of the Individual, and shall be paid within 30 days.

J) The SDM Agreement shall be considered Privileged and Confidential. The terms of the SDM Agreement shall only be disclosable to a third party if the Individual consents, or if that third party has a legal authority to access it, or if it is required to show that the SDMA consent is required with the Individual for a category “C” transaction or agreement.

K) An SDMA or third party who obtains information about the SDM Agreement may only use that information for the purposes in this section, and any misuse of the information may be subject to civil and criminal liability.

L) If the SDMA is, or ever becomes in debt to the Individual in an amount exceeding $50 for any reason other than the Individual fronting or loaning funds to the SDMA for the benefit of the Individual, the SDMA must immediately disclose that debt to the Individual. Such an advance of funds requires consultation and consent as in D-SDMA 6(B).

M) If the Individual is, or becomes more than $50 in debt to the SDMA under D-SDMA 6(B) or for any other reason, the SDMA must immediately inform the Individual.


A person is qualified and suitable under law to be an SDMA only if:

A) They are 18 years or older, or if they are considered an adult in the State in which the

Individual resides.

B) They have never been convicted of any of the following crimes: Larceny over $100, Fraud, Abuse of a vulnerable person, or Assault.

C) They are not an employer of the Individual.

D) They are chosen by the Individual without undue influence or coercion.

E) They are in compliance with D-SDMA 6(L) and (M).

F) They are not a paid provider of non-SDM services to the person with a disability.


The Form for SDM Agreements shall include all of the following:

A) A simple language explanation of SDM,

B) A list of the suggested Decisions which a SDMA can share or may be delegated power to act

upon. (See D-SDMLP 8(I) below)

C) An area for the parties to add or modify shared and delegated powers.

D) An area designating the date the Agreement goes into effect or an anticipated event which would cause the Agreement to go into effect.

E) NOTARY OR WITNESSES: The Individual and the SDMA entering into the agreement must sign the agreement with a notary unless the Individual is incapable of creating a signature. If the Individual is incapable of providing a signature, the Individual may provide oral agreement before TWO adult witnesses. If witnesses are used to confirm the SDM Agreement:

i) The witnesses must sign the SDM Agreement Affidavit section, and

ii) The following are excluded from serving as witnesses:

a) A person already in or entering into a SDM Agreement with the Individual, or

b) An employee or agent of a person in or entering into a SDM Agreement with the Individual,

F) The Pay category for each suggested Decision type will be identified on the Form with an (A) for Accountant or a (SW) for Social worker as an indication of which pay level a professional SDMA may charge per hour.

G) There shall be 4 categories of assistance:

1) In all SDM Agreements the SDMA shall always have the authority to have private, personal access to the Individual at any reasonable place or any reasonable time in order to observe and determine the physical, mental and emotional health, and well-being of the Individual, and the authority to alert the proper authorities on behalf of the Individual if a problem is discovered. That access may not be constrained, censored or eavesdropped upon.

2)The SDMA will have authority to conduct SDM assistance for any specific topic in the following additional 3 categories “A”,”B”, and “C” at the level which is checked or marked with an “X.” If a topic line is left blank or is marked with a “0” the SDMA shall have no authority for that activity.

i)The Categories shall be displayed in column form and designated as follows:

“A” The SDMA has only the right to inform and consult with the Individual, and to obtain pertinent information from the Individual's private records from any applicable entity on only the selected topics.

“B” SHARED AS PROXY, CONDITIONALLY DELEGATED: The SDMA shall inform and consult with the individual, and is granted the authority to enter into third party agreements on behalf of the individual, and without the Individual's direct participation, and to sign, and make payments on behalf of the individual, but only with the current consent of the individual for that specific act.

“C” DIRECT SHARED POWER: The SDMA shall inform and consult with the individual, and shall be required to co-sign or otherwise consent to any actions taken by the Individual on the selected topics, especially for entering agreements, making payments, and other acts requiring signatures.

ii) For actions under (G)(2)(i) Category “C” the SDMA consent shall be required for the act to be legal and binding. The SDMA may provide the other party with the checklist portion of this document which bears the court Order to attest to this requirement.

iii) The SDMA and the other party shall both be immune to liability for an act by the Individual which occurs without the knowledge of the SDMA or the other party. If the act can be undone and fully cured upon discovery of the flaw, it shall be undone unless the SDMA gives approval.

H) The (appropriate government mental health department) shall provide the public with the following documents:






I, ___ (name of individual)___ , residing at _________, willingly and without coercion enter into this Supported Decision Making Agreement with ___(name of SDMA)___, who resides at _________. I have read the entire agreement and had Supported Decision Making and this Agreement explained to me.


I agree to act as the SDM Assistant for (Name of Individual), hereafter known as the “Individual,” in accordance with (LAW CITATION) which I have read and understand.

I understand that my role is to assist the Individual in making decisions which are checked on the list above and that I have legal authority to obtain access to the Individual and obtain certain information and consult with persons on maters relating to those topics.

I further understand that I have the authority to act on an manage any and all aspects of the topics designated in category (B) of the Checklist, for the sole benefit of the Individual, and that in so doing I must make a reasonable attempt to consult with and inform the Individual of such action before doing it, or to consult with and inform the Individual as soon thereafter as possible. I also understand that the action can be ordered to be reversed by the Individual, and I must then reverse my action.

I understand that I have been asked to provide this service for a reason, and that my responsibility includes having patience and empathy to explain why I believe my consultation is wise, even when the Individual may not at first agree.

I understand that if the Individual does not agree with my opinion, that their opinion and instruction is by default the one which shall be followed. If I believe that doing so would cause significant harm, I may protect myself by providing the Individual with a signed and dated note or letter explaining my belief and counseling in opposition.

I also understand that if I use my influence to override the clearly stated wishes of the individual in order to benefit myself or someone else whom I favor, that I will have have exerted “undue influence” and would be libel for damages.

Signature: ________________________________________________ (Individual of the agreement)

Printed name: _____________________________________________ Date:



If the Individual cannot physically sign, they may give oral consent before two witnesses who sign

attest that they are an Adult in their State of Residence, not the guardian, conservator or one of their employees, and are not an employee of a facility in which the individual resides.

I, ___(print name of witness 1)___, residing at __________ do aver and if called upon to testify in this matter will confirm that ___(printed name of Individual)___ has given verbal confirmation that they have had the entire SDM Agreement explained to them, and that they have made selections in Categories A, B and C on the Supported Decision Making Checklist Form, and that they have designated ___(printed name of SDMA) as their Supported Decision Making Assistant by this document. I am an Adult in my State of Residence. I am not the guardian, conservator or one of their employees, and I am not an employee of a facility in which the individual resides. Further, Affiant says naught.

___________________________ Signature of Witness no. 1 (Must be notarized below) __(Date)__

I, ___(print name of witness 2)___, residing at __________ do aver and if called upon to testify in this matter will confirm that ___(printed name of Individual)___ has given verbal confirmation that they have had the entire SDM Agreement explained to them, and that they have made selections in Categories A, B and C on the Supported Decision Making Checklist Form, and that they have designated ___(printed name of SDMA) as their Supported Decision Making Assistant by this document. I am an Adult in my State of Residence. I am not the guardian, conservator or one of their employees, and I am not an employee of a facility in which the individual resides. Further, Affiant says naught.

___________________________ Signature of Witness no. 2 (Must be notarized below) __(Date)__

Signature: ________________________________________________ (SDM Assistant)

Printed name: _____________________________________________ Date:



Choosing to remain in guardianship or conservatorship

Check which applies:

_____ I have a guardian, and my guardian has shown me and explained the SUPPORTED DECISION MAKING AGREEMENT and the INTRODUCTION TO SUPPORTED DECISION MAKING AGREEMENT on __(date)___.

_____ I have a conservator, and my conservator has shown me and explained the SUPPORTED DECISION MAKING AGREEMENT and the INTRODUCTION TO SUPPORTED DECISION MAKING AGREEMENT on __(date)___.

I understand the basics of Supported Decision Making, and that I have the right to create Supported Decision Making agreements with persons of my choice, but I do not choose to enter a Supported Decision Making agreement at this time.

___________________________ Signature of Individual. (Must be notarized below) __(Date)__



I, ___(print name of witness 1)___, residing at __________ do aver and if called upon to testify in this matter will confirm that ___(printed name of Individual)___ has given verbal confirmation that they have had the entire SDM Agreement explained to them, and that they have chosen by their free will remain in guardianship or conservatorship, and not to use Supported Decision Making. I am an Adult in my State of Residence. I am not the guardian, conservator or one of their employees, and I am not an employee of a facility in which the individual resides. Further, Affiant says naught.

___________________________ Signature of Witness no. 1 (Must be notarized below) __(Date)__

I, ___(print name of witness 2)___, residing at __________ do aver and if called upon to testify in this matter will confirm that ___(printed name of Individual)___ has given verbal confirmation that they have had the entire SDM Agreement explained to them, and that they have chosen by their free will remain in guardianship or conservatorship, and not to use Supported Decision Making. I am an Adult in my State of Residence. I am not the guardian, conservator or one of their employees, and I am not an employee of a facility in which the individual resides. Further, Affiant says naught.

___________________________ Signature of Witness no. 2 (Must be notarized below) __(Date)__


State of _____________ , ____________________ Judicial District

On this _____ day of _____, in the year _____, before me, 16 ____________________ (name of notary public), appeared 1 ____________________ (name of Individual), and ____________________ (name of SDM Supporter named in the agreement), personally known to me to be the persons who executed this agreement, and each acknowledged to me that each executed the agreement as the person's free and voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes under this agreement. Witness my hand and official seal the day and year written above.

_________________________________ (Signature of notary public)

(Seal, if any)


(Title and rank)

My commission expires: _____________


In order to provide me with proper consultation regarding my decision making, and to ensure my well being, I, ___(name of individual)___ hereby voluntarily agree to allow ___(name of SDMA)___ to have the authority to have private, personal access to any reasonable place or any reasonable time, or on demand in an emergency, in order to observe and determine my physical, mental and emotional health, my well-being, and my condition, and to alert the proper authorities on my behalf if a problem is discovered.

This Supportive Decision Making Agreement is in effect from ___(either date of signing OR a chosen later date)___, and remains in effect until terminated by myself or my SDMA.

This Supportive Decision Making Agreement may also go into effect immediately if the following circumstance occurs: _____________________________________________________________.



In addition to the authority above, I also give my SDMA the authority to obtain information and records, including confidential records, from any corresponding Authority or Provider, on only the topics selected in Category A, in order that my SDMA can inform me, consult with me, and help me make my own decisions on those topics.

To select items in Category A, make a CHECK or “X” mark on the corresponding line. Any open line or line marked with a 0” will be invalid.

If the SDMA is a PAID position, the Pay type is marked “S” for Social Worker or “A” for Accountant.

Check Pay TOPIC

Line Type

____ S Matters of Physical Health Care which are not financial.

_____ A Finances regarding any Health Care and Health Care Providers.

____ S Matters regarding Psychiatric or other Mental Health.

____ S Matters of where to live and who to live with, including costs and resources.

____ A Financial matters, including but not limited to bank accounts, other financial accounts,

taxes, settlements, funds, trusts, payments in or out, and debt collection.

____ S Obtaining legal representation and use of that representation.

____ S Obtaining help from Law Enforcement.

____ S Engagement and use of Community Services

____ S Knowledge of my Social Security number for access to information.




In addition to the authority above, I also give my SDMA the authority to obtain information and records, including confidential records, from any corresponding Authority or Provider, on only the topics selected in Category B, in order that my SDMA can inform me, consult with me, and help me make my own decisions on those topics. I also grant my SDMA the authority to enter into third party agreements on my behalf, and without my direct participation, and to sign, and make payments on my behalf, but only with my current consent for that specific act.

To select items in Category B,make a CHECK or “X” mark on the corresponding line. Any open line or line marked with a 0” will be invalid.

If the SDMA is a PAID position, the Pay type is marked “S” for Social Worker or “A” for Accountant.

Check Pay TOPIC

Line Type

____ A To use my money to obtain my medications or other necessary items for my Health and Welfare and deliver them to me.

____ S To sign agreements for housing, including financial contracts.

____ A To purchase property and possessions for my use and ownership, but not use or ownership of my SDMA.

____ S To enter me into contracts and other agreements which benefit me.

____ A To access my bank accounts in order to pay my bills and make my purchases.

____ A To make payments for my utilities, rents, food, medications, contracts, regular bills, licenses, etc.

____ A/S To engage legal representation, to arrange to take legal action on my behalf, and to consult with that legal representation on my behalf. Legal action includes the right to bring lawsuits and to seek Restraining Orders.

____ S To seek law enforcement intervention or other Agency intervention on my behalf,

and to make reports to those agencies on my behalf .

____ S To represent me to the State and Federal Tax authorities, and to prepare or hire preparation of tax forms and submit them.

____ A To act as a fiduciary over my Trusts.

____ S To transport or arrange for Third Party transportation of me within and outside my State of residence, and within or outside the United States only for my benefit.

* Where a service requires my Social Security number or other privileged information, my SDMA has the right to access that information for any actions in this section.




SDMA Consent for me to enter agreements or make payments

In addition to the authority above, I also give my SDMA the authority to obtain information and records, including confidential records, from any corresponding Authority or Provider, on only the topics selected in Category B, in order that my SDMA can inform me, consult with me, and help me make my own decisions on those topics. For my own protection, I agree not to take any action on items checked in Category “C unless they are accompanied by the written or verbal consent of my SDMA.

To select items in Category C,make a CHECK or “X” mark on the corresponding line. Any open line or line marked with a 0” will be invalid.

If the SDMA is a PAID position, the Pay type is marked “S” for Social Worker or “A” for Accountant.

Check Pay TOPIC

Line Type

____ A To use my money to obtain my medications or other necessary items for my Health and Welfare and deliver them to me.

____ S To sign agreements for housing, including financial contracts.

____ A To purchase property and possessions for my use and ownership, but not use or ownership of my SDMA.

____ S To enter me into contracts and other agreements which benefit me.

____ A To access my bank accounts in order to pay my bills and make my purchases.

____ A To make payments for my utilities, rents, food, medications, contracts, regular bills, licenses, etc.

____ A/S To engage legal representation, to arrange to take legal action on my behalf, and to consult with that legal representation on my behalf. Legal action includes the right to bring lawsuits and to seek Restraining Orders.

____ S Representation of me to the State and Federal Tax authorities, and to prepare or hire preparation of tax forms and submit them.

____ S To transport or arrange for Third Party transportation of me within and outside my State of residence, and within or outside the United States only for my benefit.

* Where a service requires my Social Security number or other privileged information, my SDMA has the right to access that information for any actions in this section.


A Supported Decision Making Agreement has been filed between ___name of Individual)___ and ___(name of SDMA)___ who serves as the Individual's Supported Decision Making Assistant.


___(name of SDMA) shall have complete legal authority to act as described on the under law.

_________ __________________________________

Date Judge


Hon. (printed name of judge, P-number

And that's all there is to it!

The FAQ Page

Guardianship & Conservatorship vs. Default Supported Decision Making.

Guardianship and Conservatorship, is a system created by the States to manage the affairs of any person whom the State declares to have some degree of mental or physical decline. In most, but not all cases, full powers of care, custody, and control of the individual are given to a guardian, and if there is a significant estate, also a conservator. This power of a guardian over the Individual is typically cited as a virtually limitless power to ignore State and Federal laws (a typical Law Enforcement response to complaints is”We have no jurisdiction because it is in civil court”).

In theory, the system has some statutory limits, which vary from State to State, but in real practice these limits are often ignored by both the court and fiduciaries. That creates a violation of several Constitutional rights, as well as rights by State law and violations of other State laws. The result is a system which removes rights of Americans and gives them away, often to strangers, who are in a position to exploit the Individual without fear of being stopped. The system inherently promotes corrupt behavior by courts and fiduciaries.

The few Supported Decision Making (SDM) laws which have been signed or presented as Bills across the US are intended to reform the abuses under guardianship and conservatorship by creating a “less intrusive” system, where in theory the individual has more ability to maintain self-determination. Unfortunately, most of these SDM laws and Bills are flawed in that they fail to recognize the true sources of abuse. By keeping the matter under the discretion of the court rather than the Health Care system, they give discretion to the court to deprive rights, directly leading to abuse. They also fail because they are based on the false premise that a State can legally usurp fundamental Constitutional rights (violating the Supremacy Clause of the USC). And they fail because they presume the court will intend to use it's discretion to make good and beneficial judgments. Unfortunately, the courts have clearly demonstrated that they often act on the contrary and defend their appointees to the detriment of the Individual. The catastrophic consequences of that failure are the ruination of lives, and are even the cause of premature deaths.


 It differs greatly from typical SDM laws and Bills presented previously. By making SDM the default, we bring the matter back to the sphere of Health Care, and the court system is almost unvolved. The Individual or patient gets the better care and more transparent protection which they need than a court system can guarantee. The care and protections with D-SDM are far better than when someone is under guardianship or conservatorship, and the system comports with the US Constitution, while the previous systems, including most SDM laws and Bills, do not. D-SDM saves time and money by staying out of court, and greatly reduces the risks of abuse and exploitation from a guardianship/conservatorship system.




(Putting the Default into Supported Decision Making)




The guardianship and conservatorship statutes in the individual States are not serving the purpose of ensuing proper protection and meeting the needs of the people whom they serve. The State laws are not just flawed, they are fundamentally flawed because their foundation is a false premise that you can better protect a person by taking away their rights and giving them to a third party. It might seem like a solution on paper, but the first FAQ section explains why the reality is far from that. The reality is we have created a systemic, legalized platform which encourages abuse and exploitation.

Q: When someone gets old, or they have some kind of injury that makes them somehow more vulnerable or less capable, don't we need to make sure they are properly cared for and don't get into problems or trouble?

A: Not quite. Discrimination against someone because they are old or had an injury is wrongful and presumptuous. We are all open to making mistakes, big mistakes, or becoming crime victims throughout our lives. Having natural cognition challenges from aging, or physical challenges, or even developmental challenges does not mean a person cannot know what they want, or have any ability to cope. These reduced abilities vary tremendously in degree, yet our laws do not effectively address that difference because they are vague and let a judge rather than a medical or psychiatric expert decide where to draw the line. Removing someone's rights is not a protection. It just makes them more vulnerable.

Q: But my grandfather actually IS helpless to take care of himself. Doesn't he need a guardian because of that?

A: No. One commonly misunderstood fact is that guardianship does not address that. A guardian is not there to wash you, or give you your pills in the morning, get your meals, or stop you from walking out into a street without looking. We already have support for that. You do not need a guardian to hire In-Home Health Aides, or to move to an Adult Foster Care home or senior living. Anybody can help you set up any social services you may need.

Q: But what if my grandma can't even remember what uncle Bill looks like, and certainly can't remember if she decided to have someone come fix the roof? Doesn't she need a guardian for that?

A: No, anybody can talk to grandma about getting the roof fixed, and if she forgets, anybody can remind her later and keep an eye out to make sure it happens.

Q: But what if my elderly parent has a very short memory, and makes an important decision one day and forgets it the next, and then makes the opposite decision? Doesn't a guardian make the “right”decision for what is best for my parent?

A: Not necessarily, and too often not. A guardian can, and often does make a bad choice because they either don't know the desires and values of the ward or doesn't care. Their decisions are often made based on what is easiest or best for the guardian. Supported Decision Making allows a person to have a TRUSTED person of their choice advise and consult with them over a decision, and it allows them to act on what they them self VALUE. And if the person changes their mind, that is their right.

For example: Let's say the choice is to stay in the home or move to a retirement home.

A guardian often finds it easier to manage someone under more control at a retirement home or even a long-term care facility. They would care less about the emotional and psychological damage caused by uprooting the person and disposing of all of their possessions.

However, A Supported Decision Making Assistant would gather the information necessary to present the pros and cons, would have a meaningful discussion with the Individual without trying to direct the choice, and the choice to move would be what the person wanted. Since the Individual still has the right, they can sign to do it. Even the professional SDMA would have no liability or need for control influencing decisions.

And the next day, when that person seems confused because they forgot about making that decision, the SDM Assistant can remind them about how the decision was made and show them their signature.

Q: What if my uncle just has so much ego that he won't let someone assist him in decisions? What if he doesn't recognize that things have changed, and he has trouble with this? Doesn't he need a guardian to protect him from himself?

A: This is not uncommon. As changes happen gradually, many people simply do not notice the changes until it is rather late, or they have a psychological denial of it. It is better to respect them by sitting down and discussing examples in a positive and caring manner than it is to drag them by force into court and strip them of their rights and their dignity. When people see that they are having problems, they naturally want to try to make sure their needs are met and their desires fulfilled. They will usually choose help rather than continuing in an untenable and degrading life. But if they choose the later, when it becomes life threatening, there is the option of institutionalization or guardianship. This is the back-up plan for the most severe cases.

Q: I was put into guardianship because I am an amputee in a wheel chair, or I'm blind, or I have some other physical disability, but my mind is perfectly sharp. My hands can't write, but I can think clearly. How can I get things done and be protected?

A: It was wrongful to put you in guardianship for any of those reasons and take your rights away for someone else's control. Many people have the same conditions as you and get through life just fine. A Durable Power of Attorney would be able to help, but you can't have that because you have a guardian. You can escape the guardian under this law by initiating a D-SDM agreement.

Q: People claim my gambling and spending habits are so bad that I require the protection of guardianship in order to keep me from losing all of my money, my home and my livelihood. Is that true?

A: No. There are several ways to deal with these problems right now. Losing all of your rights is never the answer. There are organizations to help with addictions of any kind. These are Mental Health issues, and should be dealt with as that rather than legal rights deprivation. One of your rights as a human being is to make mistakes and even be foolish in the eyes of others. The only time authority should be allowed to step in is when you represent an imminent harm to yourself or others, just as when a judge may order an alcoholic to enter a 12 Step program. (Note: a 12 step does not strip you of all of your rights.)

Q: Who are the people most likely to fall victim to guardianship or conservatorship abuse and exploitation?

A: Anybody of any age or disposition. There are many cases of persons without any cognitive, mental, or physical deficiency have been taken to court and appointed guardians, even though they do not qualify for needing guardianship under State Law. Without this D-SDM law, anybody can assert that anybody else has a problem and request an emergency hearing to skip formalities such as due process, and even the presence of the target person in court. They simply file a false petition claiming either mental or physical vulnerability needs to be addressed immediately for the person's “best interests,” and therefore they need another person to control them. It doesn't need to be true, because the judges seldom require evidence or follow due process or the law's requirements.

People who are most likely to be subjects include: the elderly, alcoholics or persons with other substance abuse problems, people recovering well from illness in hospitals, and persons with disabilities. Someone can even get you into guardianship because they want your money or property if they make up a good story. Sometimes even family members may have a family member put into guardianship because they don't like their choice of significant other, or their lifestyle.

Q: Who does this to people?

A: The answer is different in different places and situations. It can be a crooked or poorly trained Adult Protective Services agent who knows nothing about you and is just listening to someone who claims to be speaking on your behalf, a hospital social worker or nursing home administrator who wants to make sure they get paid, a family member who covets your wealth, a neighbor who dislikes you, etc. In effect, anybody who is willing to make up a story, bears a grudge, or has a motive to exploit you for profit.

Q: Who is given the power over me?

A: It is sometimes a “professional” guardian or conservator. The term “professional” does not mean they are trained or have any particular ability or motive to help you. It just means they get paid to have that role. They are usually either an attorney who works in that probate court, or someone from a professional guardianship company. A non-professional may be a family member or non-relation.

Q: I heard an executive of the Guardianship Association on a podcast saying that professional guardians hardly make enough money to stay in business, and that they are all good-hearted people who are always trying to provide the best care. Why would we not want that?

A: Because it is a complete lie. Professional guardians and conservators, especially the ones who are probate attorneys make lots of money, and it comes directly from the ward's accounts. There is little oversight, and probate law is one of the most lucrative forms of law. In fact, probate law and the guardianship industry have made such vast amounts of money that the corruption surrounding itself has powerful lobbies to undermine reform. Not just guardianship associations, but even the probate judges associations and large elements of the State Bar. They know every way to make money off the victim and make sure the law Bills that would prevent that never pass.

Q: Well wouldn't a professional be working to ensure my best interests?

A: Too often the answer is “No.” The theory is yes, but in practice that may be a low priority or no priority. The professional's priority is to make money for themselves while protecting them self from liability. In exchange for that “service” you lose all of your rights to self-determination, possessions, property, family and friend associations, and to defend yourself by law. You cannot vote if they say so, and they can even force you to get divorced. The fact is that a guardian or conservator has been put into a position where they can exploit you while they enjoy the full protection of the court to do so. Your family will take the professionals to court, and you'll have to pay the guardian and conservator to defend themselves. That works well for them financially, but you lose the case and everything you owned.

In fact, when a court sees that a family member who clearly wants to exploit and otherwise abuse you wants to become your guardian or conservator, even if you object to them by your statutory right, that person often gets appointed anyway. That's because the judge knows that it will certainly lead to court action. That means probate attorneys will need to be hired, and they make even more money from that then their regular billing for services as guardians and conservators. In a crooked probate court, the idea is to increase litigation to increase profits for the attorneys and other professionals.

Q: What does the judge get out of it?

A: Judges are paid a LOT to “ensure integrity.” They keep that job by supporting their attorney appointees in exploitation. For the greedy, there is no such thing as enough power and money. By helping the attorneys of their court, they enjoy election support, receive election contributions, and don't have to spend money running against opposition for re-election. In some proven cases judges have also been found by Law Enforcement to get kick-backs and even to be owners of nursing homes where their victims are sent.

Q: How do attorney and private company guardians and conservators get away with this? Isn't a judge going to hold them accountable when evidence is presented in court?

A: No. Attorneys are only accountable to three entities. 1) If the judge who appointed them is crooked, that judge will certainly abuse judicial discretion to find in favor of the people they appointed, regardless of testimony or evidence to the contrary. 2) The State Bar has a Grievance Commission, but they nearly always absolve the attorney, and in rare cases where proof is inescapable, the consequence is usually a minor token fine, nowhere near the amount of loss to the victim. And the Commission is not law enforcement, so they cannot provide criminal action anyway. 3) That leaves Law Enforcement. The state Attorney General office is made up of attorneys, and they don't go after other attorneys or judges very often. Local law enforcement will even ignore criminal acts by guardians and conservators because it is under the civil Probate jurisdiction. And Federal law enforcement, which is supposed to go after crimes committed in racketeering, human trafficking, elder abuse (Americans with Disabilities Act), and even deprivation of rights under the Color of Law (using your legal authority to commit illegal acts), just doesn't want to engage. They won't say why, and even legislators are demanding that they explain why they fail to act.

Q: How does the judge get away with it?

A: Similarly to the situation with attorneys, the judges also enjoy protection from the BAR Association, the Courts system, and unwillingness of proper law enforcement to intercede. Also, judges are provided a high degree of legalized “immunity” in order to use discretion to ensure a “just” outcome. But a crooked or lazy judge can abuse these powers in violation of rights and law. In effect, the worst that can happen is a Court of Appeals will simply reverse their decision. Good luck even getting your case to the CoA. You probably don't have use of your money and are not allowed to get an attorney who isn't working under that judge.

There is a Grievance Commission about judges in each state. It is just as useless as the ones for attorneys. And when you make a complaint, you just told the bad guys everything they need to know to cover their tracks.

This means that a judge effectively has absolute power to abuse the law so you can be exploited.

Q: Don't people notice this?

A: Of course they do. The victims all across America notice it, but are prevented from defending themselves. The secondary victims, family and friends, notice and try to act, but that plays into the scam and they lose everything. Many become activists, trying to spread the word and get action, but few people who have not yet faced this seem interested- until the scam affects their own family. The media notices, but seldom covers it. It has reached a point now where so many are affected that the voice crying out for change is becoming loud.

Q:Who prevents legislation from fixing this?

A: The opposition is made up of the very people who are supposed to ensure the integrity of the process. They talk as if they are trying to work for the good of the people, but a fair look at what they say and do shows the opposite is true. Laws are made with loopholes which allow the exploitation to continue. Lobbies like the State Probate Judges Association, the State Bar Association, the Professional Guardianship Association all work to maintain the status quo. There is great pressure on legislators to make sure the paths towards profit continue, or they risk losing campaign funds and other support.

Q: But are there no honest attorneys or judges?

A: Of course there are. But the number of attorneys and judges who are dishonest is great enough that it has created a major systemic problem across the USA. The laws and legal protections have created a situation where there is just so much money to be made, and as an exploitative industry it is so easy, and so well protected, that the temptation to exploit the helpless is extreme. Judges and attorneys are actually incentivized to act corruptly because of the way the laws are designed.

Q: Isn't it unlikely that every attorney working through a crooked probate court is a crook? Why can't I find one that will work for my interests?

A: Obviously there are attorneys who object to this corrupt behavior. Imagine you are an honest attorney and you get a job in what turns out to be a crooked probate court. If you complain, or file grievances with the Court Administration or Grievance Commissions, you face the end of your career where you live, and maybe in the State. You will be retaliated against. You will have Grievances filed against you. You will not win cases. If you want your job, you can represent your client for the minor things, but when it comes to anything significant, you have to go along with the scam. No choice.

Q: Isn't that a complete perversion of what our country stands for and how our judicial system is supposed to work? What do we do about it?

A: Yes, it is exactly that. What we do about it is to get enough voters to tell our legislators that we want real solutions that uphold our rights and make these abuses impossible without the crook being held accountable. The best answer is the Default Supported Decision Making Law described here. It gets your head out of the lion's jaws by keeping you out of court in the first place, and it defends YOUR RIGHT have control of your own life.


Q: Different versions of Supported Decision Making laws have been a popular proposals for a solution for several years, so why is this Default SDM proposal the answer when the others were not?

A: SDM is popular because in theory it supports a person's rights to self-determination regarding their life. Unfortunately, politicians tend to water it down by allowing courts to determine what rights a person keeps or loses. They also generally allow guardians to have control, despite the intention. By keeping the matter in the hands of the court, they open the matter to exploitation because there is no control over the court. This law would make D-SDM the universal default, so it never has to go to court in the first place.

Here is a list of some Supported Decision Making signed Laws and proposed Bills:

Alaska: 21 pages

Colorado: 9 pages

Delaware: 8 pages

Dist. Columb: 8pages

Indiana: 10 pages

Louisiana: 7 pages

Nevada: 8 pages

North Dakota: 5 pages

Rhode Island: 9 pages

Texas: 8 pages + Agreement: 2 pages

Washington: 217 pages

Wisconsin: 4 tight pages

They have the same root problems. They are written so that a guardian or judge can still take away your rights and give them to a stranger, and keep them there. Rights under the US Constitution are still not ensured, or are abandoned altogether. In fact, several specifically let a guardian decide if you get to use SDM and what decisions they will let you make. So these laws totally fail to accomplish anything.

Q: I see that several of the States which have adopted SDM laws, or are introducing SDM Bills allow the guardian to remain when someone enters an SDM Agreement, and the guardian retains the power to act in ways which may be contrary to the Individual's wishes and even needs. If that happens, what is the value of having an SDMA if the guardian or conservator can just act adversely anyway?

A: This is a valid point, and it is the basis of why this particular law proposal terminates the guardianship and conservatorship for most cases, and is the default unless doctors evaluate the Individual and doctors, not a judge, conclude that the Individual has lost so much mental capacity and reason that they present a continuous likelihood of causing serious life threatening harm to them self or others. For all cases short of that threshold, the SDM allows a person to be self-determinative.

Q: Wouldn't a trusted family member or friend always be a guardian who would work for the benefit of the individual? Shouldn't family automatically come first in all cases?

A: No. The subject person's wishes should always be honored above any other claims because it is their life. There are plenty of families with greedy, selfish and crooked members who would act for their own interests against the individual. Some family members will use “undue influence” or subterfuge to get into the good graces of the individual, and thus obtain legal power over them to exploit. But- that being said, even having a benevolent guardian means all of your rights are now in their hands. You may find you disagree with what THAT person thinks is best for you, but you have no rights, so what you want gets overruled in favor of their vision of what they want your life to be.

Q: In that case, wouldn't a Professional Guardian or Conservator be objective and benevolent because they have a neutral position?

A: Often that answer is a resounding “no." The “professional” is not neutral. They are in the business for their own interests. A professional usually has a lot of wards, so they hardly spend the time to know what you want and what is important. They have a standardized idea of what works best for THEM, not you. Their idea of what is “best for you” often has no empathy or consideration for anything beyond keeping you alive, and they function to make money off of you, so that is their priority. They have every reason to sell your home and place you in a Long Term Care facility so there will be less legal liability for them. And they have an incentive under the law to create more billing hours for themselves so they can get the maximum profit from you. The non-attorney professional is bad enough this way, but when it is an attorney, you now have a person who has expert understanding of how to manipulate the law and the court, and they will be defended by the judge, and they know probate law and court procedure well enough to prevail in any legal action you take. An attorney/professional is unfairly advantaged to win and avoid accountability, regardless of their abuse and exploitation.

Q: Isn't a “professional” guardian or conservator better capable of managing a person's life?

A: The record shows this is untrue. In fact, in most States there are no professional requirements, not even training or registration to be a guardian or conservator. They are simply people who make money by providing a service. And since it is rare that they live with the ward, the professional may be a total stranger who knows almost nothing about the Individual's personal life. The great many examples in the news and from public complaints show that professional guardians and conservators are often the cause of problems, making terrible, even destructive decisions, or committing abuse and exploitation.

Q: Why shouldn't a judge decide if you are competent or incapacitated?

A: Because this is a Health Care matter, not the settling of an estate or criminal matter. The judge is not a psychiatrist and therefore has no expertise in the question of your cognitive level. The mental condition of a person can only be determined by qualified doctors, and should certainly be redundantly proven before institutionalization.

Q: Where do we draw the line between competence and incapacity vs. incompetence and incapacity?

A: It is subjective, meaning different things to different people, and each Individual's case is different. Mental decline is not an ON-OFF affection. The areas of decline are different from person to person. It is usually gradual, and people can be anywhere on a sliding scale. The line of demarcation between being affected in some way vs. being a danger needs to be kept simple, and there needs to be a high bar for determining when a person simply cannot function to the point that they need to be institutionalized. The Default SDM recognizes this and provides a tool for the person to get the level of help and kind of help they need- even if they were deemed incompetent or incapacitated in the past.

Q: If I enter into a Supported Decision Making Agreement, am I opening myself up to being declared incompetent, incapacitated, or otherwise disabled to the point where someone could discriminate against me?

A: No. In fact, the law states otherwise. It is not an official admission. It is you wanting some level of help for your own reasons, and you will always have the last word on any decision.

Unless you have been found to need institutionalization because you are an imminent and continuing harm to yourself -which is another matter- nobody can prevent you from any actions simply because you have a SDM Agreement. And that SDM Agreement can remain private, with the exception of your SDM Assistant producing it to show they have legal permission to act with your consent.

Q: Does an SDM Agreement have to be made when I am starting to notice mental decline or later? Or does it have to wait until I have already been determined to have cognition challenges?

A: No. Anybody can enter into a SDM Agreement at any time, regardless of their mental condition.

Q: Why would I give another person authority to act on my behalf, when I could overrule their action?

A: Because for example, you may wish to use it if your hand shakes too much from neural degeneration to be able to sign documents. Maybe you want to be ready in case you are hospitalized with a brain injury, or after you were hospitalized and want to avoid guardianship. Maybe you are developmentally disabled and your parents want to force you into guardianship, but you are capable of managing life with some help and even holding a job. Maybe you are blind and find that certain things are easier this way. Maybe you have a mobility disability that makes it time consuming or expensive to manage your needs. Maybe you want to set something up for a future scenario and you like this system better than Power of Attorney.

Q: Don't we already have the equivalent to Supported Decision Making with Durable Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate designations?

A: No. These are limited by when they can be created, and they are vague and broad in scope. They can only be created BEFORE a person is ruled by a court to be “incompetent” or “incapacitated.” Also, the judge can revoke them at whim and appoint a stranger as guardian or conservator. And if a person has set them up prior to being found incapacitated or incompetent (having seen an Elder Law Attorney to do that), after crossing that threshold of legal finding of cognitive deficiency, if they want to change their DPoA, they can no longer designate the replacement.

Q: What if the person has dementia, or other mental illness or cognitive decline to the point where they would suffer severe physical damage or loss of life without help? Wouldn't it be foolish not to give custody and control to another person so they can be watched and guided? Don't we want them not to do stupid things?

A: No. Beyond making sure they have care and are safe, what we want for them and our opinion of what is best, is merely our subjective personal opinion. That doesn't make it legitimate, or even wise. Just different. A guardian's judgment can also be entirely flawed and destructive, as many examples prove. At no time whatsoever should a person be deprived of their fundamental rights protected under the US Constitution, or their moral rights as implied under the US Constitution. Even if they are insane or in a coma, they still deserve their fundamental rights which protect them from predation.

However, when the need for care arises which exceeds a person's cognitive ability, there is no reason not to provide a SHARED responsibility. In that case, the SDM gives powers to another person to act only with the consent of the individual. They cannot have absolute control based on the responsibilities of care. It is NOT appropriate to give custody, and control of one person to any other, even trusted family or a theoretically benevolent professionals, while removing the person's rights. Your personal idea of what is best for another person is not more valid than their personal desires for their own life. Our freedoms include the right to make what other people would consider to be poor choices. The law already has a mechanism to address addictions. The transparency that is absent with guardianship is present in SDM, so concerned third parties can alert authorities, including medical personnel when someone has a self-destructive problem. Action should not include removal of all of their rights.

Q: Does a D-SDM system entirely abolish guardianship and conservtorship?

A: No. It removes the vast majority of cases from guardianship and conservatorship- if the individual wishes, but guardianship and conservatoship must be an option for those who DO meet the high bar for institutionalization. But even then, the law must reflect that a person always has certain rights, so there should never be such a thing as plenary guardianship where all rights are removed from the person.

Q: How does a D-SDM Assistant differ from a Guardian or Conservator?

A: In this D-SDM system, the difference is in authority. The person gets to keep their authority while only choosing to SHARE an amount of that authority with someone they choose. And they can immediately replace that person at will if they are “unsatisfactory” (or crooked). The D-SDM Assistant can NEVER overrule the will of the person without consequences. The D-SDM Assistant is open to oversight by the person and by law enforcement for criminal acts because they are not protected under probate civil law.

Q: What protections and help does SDM provide?

A: The person can have the SDM Assistant be given some power to act on their behalf in all of the ways a guardian should act, such as making arrangements, paying for things, having access to the person at any facility, general care, consulting over major decisions, dealing with banks, the IRS, etc., even to take legal action with the consent of the person, if the person desires that.

Q: Other SDM laws and Bills only offer the chance to have someone consult with you about what you want to do. But this proposal adds the dimension of delegating powers that would normally be held by a Durable Power of Attorney, a Payee, a Health Care Advocate, a Guardian, or a Conservator. So what is the reason for that?

A: There are several reasons: A Power of Attorney or Health Care Advocate can only be created by the Individual before they are declared incapacitated or incompetent. After that, the person has a guardian and/or conservator. But in this proposal we recognize the sliding scale of ability which courts and the other systems seldom differentiate. The Individual should have self-determinative abilities until they simply cannot, and they should not be subjected to being made helpless by improper action. Yes, under this law these forms of control are replaced by the SDM Agreement. The SDM Agreement is more detailed and offers the choices rather than expecting a person who may already be mentally compromised to think of them off the top of their head.

Q: Can I be exploited under SDM?

A: Yes, but anybody can be duped and exploited, defrauded, robbed, abused, etc. in the prime of life. It happens. And guardians do all of that too. So guardianship does not make you immune. The best way to prevent it is the openness and transparency that comes with a good Supported Decision Making Agreement. It provides safeguards not available to someone in guardianship, and it allows other people to recognize alleged abuses by the SDM Assistant and to notify the proper authorities. That is totally blocked under guardianship.

Q: I notice that the other SDM laws and Bills disallow a person who has committed certain acts against the Individual from being their SDM Assistant. Why doesn't that make sense?

A: Because of degree, circumstance, and above all- the choice of the individual. For example, suppose 30 years ago your adult child, then only 20 years old, stole some money from you and struck you. But 30 years have gone by, and they are your child, and you forgave them long ago. They became a very trusted and honest, safe person. If they are the person you really want helping you, it makes sense that they be allowed. If you don't trust them, you shouldn't select them.

Q: If I agree to be an SDM Assistant, and I end up accidentally giving advice that is somehow problematic, am I liable?

A: No, not if you did it in good faith with good intentions. However, if you did it knowing it would cause loss or harm, and knew you had other options, and you did it to benefit anyone, including yourself, over the individual, then you would have committed a fraud and would be criminally liable.

Q: If I am an SDM Assistant, and I advise a person one way but they use their authority to do something else that ends up being harmful to them self or others, am I liable?

A: Absolutely not. You can never be held responsible for the action of another if you advised them to the contrary. Someone would have to prove that you advised them to do what they did. Your best practice would be to log decision requests and state your advice for anything significant.

Q: What if I do not have someone I know well enough to trust as my SDM Assistant? Maybe I am old and have no friends and family left.

A: You can pick anyone who satisfies you. There can be professional SDM Assistants if you cannot find someone, but you will have to pay for their assistance. It would be helpful for our society and to the program to have religious institutions and public community centers, etc. organize SDM Assistance for people in this situation.

Q: Hasn't SDM been criticized as just a replacement for Guardianship?

A: It has, but the implication that one flawed system is being replaced by another flawed system which acts to control someone is wrong if THIS version is adopted. Guardianship removes rights and becomes someone else's means of control over a person. SDM is just a tool that a person can use to help them get the help they need to get by in life when they have a cognition degradation of any degree. It is very flexible, and provides these things where DPoA and Payee, and Patient Advocate designations all fail.

-A Grass-Roots Movement for Change-

-We need your help, not your money. Just a little time here and there to talk this up is HUGE!  If these solution ideas seem reasonable to you, and you recognize that a vast number of Americans are suffering needlessly under our probate system, then PLEASE join us in the VGCL Movement.

-Most people are aware of probate corruption, but not how common or significant it has become.  TELL THEM! Do this a lot.

-Awareness is the key to fixing it. Help us make it a political issue for 2020.  Tell your State and Federal Representatives and Senators that you are concerned, and why you want PROTECTION such as the VGCL.

-PLEASE- Forward this paper to everybody you can. That includes the leadership of your church, your State & Federal Representatives & Senators, your Governor, your newspapers and other media outlets.

-Talk to seniors and help them become aware. Talk to vulnerable adults and family who care for them.

As the baby-boomer generation comes into their golden years, the number of victims will increase from a great many to numbers beyond imagination. Will you be one of them?

It's time to step up and do something for yourself, for your family, and for your neighbors.