The PRACTICAL Tool for Lawyers: Steps in Supported Decision-Making

Summary

The PRACTICAL Tool aims to help identify and implement decision-making options for persons with disabilities that are less restrictive than guardianship by providing information on supporting decision-making for legal professionals. It was published in 2016.

Title

The PRACTICAL Tool for Lawyers: Steps in Supported Decision-Making

Location

USA

Organisation/s

Commission on Law & Aging, Commission on Disability Rights, Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, and Section on Real Property, Trust and Estate Law

Issues addressed

The PRACTICAL Tool assists legal professionals in supporting people with disabilities to make decisions.

Background information

The PRACTICAL Tool was developed as a joint product of four American Bar Association entities – the Commission on Law and Aging, Commission on Disability Rights, Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice, and Section on Real Property, Trust and Estate Law, with assistance from the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making.

Description of practice

PRACTICAL is an acronym for nine steps to identify decision-making options for people with disabilities. It stands for:

Presume guardianship is not needed

Reason. Clearly identify reasons for concern

Ask of a triggering concern may be caused by temporary or reversible conditions

Community. Determine if concerns can be addressed by connecting the individual to family or community resources and making accommodations

Team. Ask the person whether he or she already has developed a team to help make decisions

Identify abilities. Identify areas of strengths and limitations in decision-making if the person does not have an existing team and has difficulty with specific types of decisions

Challenges. Screen for and address any potential challenges presented by the identified supports and supporters

Appoint legal supporters or surrogate consistent with person’s values and preferences

Limit any necessary guardianship petition and order

 

Below each heading is a checklist to assist the lawyer with the implementation of decision-making options. The lawyer can use the PRACTICAL checklist of steps during the client interview and immediately after to assist in case analysis. Lawyers serving in different roles may use the steps differently. A resource guide is also provided with the PRACTICAL Tool.

Additional information

Practical tool for lawyers: Steps in Supporting decision-making

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