Adults who have some capacity and need help making personal decisions can agree to a co-decision-making order. This order is made by the court.
The adult named in the order is called the assisted adult. The person named in the order to help the assisted adult is called the co-decision-maker.
This arrangement may be helpful where an adult:
- cannot make personal decisions on their own but could with the help and support of another person, and
- has a close relationship with someone willing to give decision-making support, and
- does not have a guardian or a Personal Directive.
Sometimes these orders are granted after an adult has regained capacity and a guardianship order ends.
Being a Co-Decision-Maker
A co-decision-maker must agree to be named in the order. They may be a relative or a close friend. The court can appoint more than one co-decision-maker and can say whether they are to act jointly (all must agree on all decisions), separately (each handles different decisions), or successively (acting one after the other in a ranked order).
A co-decision-maker must be at least 18 years old, consent to act and have a trusting relationship with the assisted adult. The co-decision-maker cannot assist with decisions not listed in the order and financial decisions.
Applying for a Co-Decision-Making Order
There are many documents that must be completed and submitted to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee before the court will grant the order. There is also a fee to apply.
The court can grant the order by way of a “desk application” – a process for getting a court order without going to court. This process works for straightforward applications that no one is challenging. For more complicated applications, you will have to go to court.
Before granting the order, the court must find that:
- the adult’s capacity is “significantly impaired” but that the adult could make a decision with guidance and support,
- less intrusive supports are not suitable, and
- it is in the adult’s best interests to have a co-decision-maker.
For more information:
- CPLEA’s Adult Guardianship and Trusteeship booklet
- Government of Alberta: Co-Decision-Making
- Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee