How to Make Supported Decision Making Work For You

Current Decision Making Support Tools


Current decision-making support tools

The graphic above is used with permission from the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities. The information below is based upon materials created by  Disability Rights Maine and its partners with adaptations to meet the requirements of Nevada law. The full materials from both the Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities and Disability Rights Maine and their partners are available by link on our Resources page.

Getting Started with Supported Decision Making


  1. Choose Supporters

The person with a disability (principal) decides who will be involved in supporting them.  The supporters must also agree to be involved. Supporters can be friends, family members, co-workers, colleagues, people with professional expertise, or others within the person’s trusted network of support.

    • What is a Supporter?
      • A supporter is a person named in a Supported Decision Making agreement to provide assistance to a principal (the person with a disability)
    • How Do I Choose a Supporter?  
      • A supporter must be an adult over the age of 18.  A supporter should be a person who is known to you and who you trust.  A supporter should be a person with knowledge to help you in understanding information, processing information, and helping you make decisions with the information you receive.  Also, a supporter should be someone who has the time to help you.
    • Role of a Supporter
      • Supported Decision Making agreements do NOT give supporters any new rights. The Supporter has no authority to make the person’s decisions (the person with a disability makes all their own decisions). Supporters cannot sign legal documents for the person with a disability or bind the person to a legal agreement. Supporters have only the authority/role granted by the person with a disability under the terms of the Supported Decision Making agreement.
      • Supported decision-making agreements do NOT restrict a Person’s rights to make any decisions. Having a supported decision-making agreement does not preclude the Person from acting independently of the agreement or making decisions that the Supporter does not agree with. The Person is always in control of their own decisions.
  1. Discuss

The person with a disability (principal) and supporters talk about how the principal wants to be supported and in what areas the principal wants support.  The areas to be supported in can include medical services (including transportation and the facilitation of communication), companion services, homemaker services,  visiting nurses and attendants, employment, financial matters, legal services, personal care services, educational services, residential services, employment training and career planning, personal care services, and others to maintain the principal’s independence.  The principal can choose to have support in some areas but not others.

  1. Make a plan

The principal and supporters create a document that outlines how the person will be supported.  This is the Supported Decision Making agreement.

  1. Sign

The principal and supporters sign the Supported Decision Making agreement in the presence of two adult witnesses.  The agreement can be revised if necessary in the future. Everyone receives a copy of the agreement (making sure to follow correct formation procedures laid out in NRS 162C.200 which currently includes signing in the presence of at least two adult witnesses).

  1. Communicate

The principal should then let their family, providers, and other relevant people and/or institutions know they have completed a Supported Decision Making Agreement. The principal should share the document and provide copies when appropriate or requested.

6.  Implement the Decision

The supporter may advocate to ensure that the wishes and decisions of the principal are implemented.**

** “A Users Guide for People with Disabilities and their Supporters”,  Supported Decision Making, Disability Rights Maine p.15 (Rev. 7/2019); See, NRS 162C.210.

Where to get a Sample Supported Decision Making Agreement

The Nevada Law does not have a Supported Decision-Making agreement in it. You can find some sample forms* here:

*Please note, the sample agreements above may not apply under Nevada Law.  Nevada Law requires that “a supported decision-making agreement must be in writing, be dated, designate one or more supporters, list the types of decisions with which the supporter is authorized to assist the principal, and be signed by each party to the agreement in the presence of at least two adult witnesses.”  NRS 162C.200



How Do I Use a Supported Decision Making Agreement When Visiting My Doctor?

This material is presented for educational purposes only. You are strongly encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney in any legal matter. The information contained herein does not take the place of legal advice nor is it offered as such by the Self Determination Law Project or the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. The information contained herein is based on the law at the time this website was produced. If you have questions about your legal rights, please consult an attorney.

Nevada Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

This website is supported by the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities through grant funds from the Federal Department of Health & Human Services; Administration on Community Living grant #1901NVSCDD-01 and 25% matching funds appropriated by the Nevada State Legislature under NRS 232.320, administered through the State of Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors & do not necessarily represent the official views of the NGCDD or any other associated or supporting agency.