Legal Social Policy

Governmental laws have significant impact on the way we live by helping or hindering people in different ways.
This page is meant to highlight relevant laws, certain key effects they create, and suggest actions in light of the laws.
Here are some laws that may be helpful:

Policy Name: Texas Estates Code 1357. Alternatives to Guardianship: Supported Decision-Making Agreements.


During the 84th Texas Legislative Session in 2015, legislators passed HB 39 and SB 1881, making the first state to have laws that recognize “supported decision-making agreements” as an informal alternative to guardianship. This allows individuals with intellectual and development disabilities to make their own decisions with the support and guidance they need from a trusted person. The Supported Decision-Making agreement is a form you’d fill out, which is included in Chapter 1357 of the Texas Estates Code.

What this means for you:

  • Individuals with IDD (Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities) can choose people they trust to help them make decisions (e.g. employment, spending money)
  • This empowers individuals with IDD to still make decisions and manage their own affairs. Previously under full guardianship, and individual with IDD would lose many rights including the right to drive, choose where to live and work, vote, get married, consent to medical treatment, and more.
  • The individual or supporter can revoke this agreement at any time.

How this works:

  1. Individuals with IDD can choose people they trust to help them make decisions (i.e. employment, spending money)
  2. Ask these people to be their supporters
  3. Think about the type of decisions they need help making
  4. Complete a written plan called a supported decision-making agreement; provide the agreement to people like doctors and service providers.


  1. Check out The Arc of Texas website, or give them a call at 1-800-252-9729 to learn more about their work and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Texas.
    1. The Arc of Texas website:
    2. The Waco Arc:
    3. Supported Decision-Making Info Sheet:
  2. Get connected to the local Waco Arc chapter, located on: 4901 Lakewood Dr. Waco, Texas 76710.
  3. Think about individuals in your life whom you trust, and can help support and guide you with your decisions; think about filling out a Supported Decision-Making Agreement form.
  4. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a lawyer or the Arc of Texas.