Using Supported Decision-Making to Avoid a Guardianship

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: May 20, 2021
Click here to share this program
Download PDF
Closed Caption


  • List three tools used to assess cases to determine if SDM is appropriate and/or assist clients in devising SDM strategies.
  • Differentiate between evidence that shows incapacity and evidence that shows the need for support in guardianship cases.
  • Identify three “stop signs” in guardianship petitions and evaluations that cast doubt on a showing of incapacity.
  • Provide an example of a case where SDM would be an appropriate less restrictive alternative to guardianship.
Runtime: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Recorded: May 20, 2021


A panel of professionals will discuss less restrictive alternatives to guardianship that allows individuals, including older adults and people with disabilities decision making opportunities about their lives. By choosing supporters they trust, friends, family members, or professionals can assist in understanding, considering, and communicating decisions. Attendees will learn how to work with their clients to draft SDM agreements or devise other SDM strategies, including Augmentative and Alternative Communication tools for non-verbal clients, and to use these tools to avoid a filing or defend against a proposed guardianship petition.

This program was recorded on May 20th, 2021.

Provided By

American Bar Association


Viviana Bonilla Lopez

Equal Justice Works

Viviana is a San Juan, Puerto Rico native passionate about mental health and disability justice.

As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by the Florida Bar Foundation, Viviana is currently working to protect and restore the civil rights of people with disabilities in Miami-Dade County by expanding Supported Decision-Making as an alternative to guardianship.

In 2017, Viviana earned a J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern Scholar.

In 2014, she graduated with the highest distinction from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, earning a BA in journalism with a minor in entrepreneurship. In 2011, she co-founded Rethink: Psychiatric Illness, a student organization aimed at raising awareness about mental illnesses and increasing help-seeking behaviors among students. In this role, she spearheaded the creation of the university’s first-ever mental health advocacy training, which had attracted over 700 students as of January 2017 and earned the organization the 2012 Diversity Award.

In the journalism field, she has experience as a writer, photographer, videographer, researcher, translator, and editor. Her work has been published in numerous publications including USA TODAY College and the Center for Investigative Journalism of Puerto Rico.

Dana Lloyd

Director, Developmental Disabilities Program
Georgia Advocacy Office

Dana Lloyd is Program Director at the Georgia Advocacy Office. She manages the Supported Decision-Making Project and development Disabilities Program.

Julie Coleman Kegley

Senior Staff Attorney
Georgia Advocacy Office

Julie Coleman Kegley is the Senior Staff Attorney at Georgia Advocacy Office.

David Godfrey

Senior Attorney
ABA Commission on Law & Aging

David M. Godfrey, J.D., is a senior attorney to the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging in Washington DC. He is responsible for the ABA’s role in the Administration on Community Living funded National Center on Law and Elder Rights and for producing the ABA National Aging and Law Conference. David’s expertise includes supported decision making, advance care planning, health care decision making, legal service delivery, legal ethics, and LGBT aging. Prior to joining the Commission he was responsible for elder law programming at Access to Justice Foundation in Kentucky.

Mr. Godfrey earned his B.A. with honors at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, and his J.D. cum laude from the University Of Louisville School Of Law in Kentucky.

Similar Courses

Card image cap
95 minutes
401k and Other Retirement Topics for Beginners and Non-ERISA Attorneys
Join us to learn the basics of defined contribution retirement plan issues under ERISA, including 401(k) plans.

American Bar Association


Add to Cart
Card image cap
89 minutes
A Lawyer's Guide to Filing Long-Term Disability Claims and Appeals
This webinar is for legal advisors of individuals who are filing disability claims or appeals with their disability insurer, the Social Security Administration, or the Department of Veterans Affairs.

American Bar Association


Add to Cart
Card image cap
61 minutes
A Lawyer's Guide to Working with Special Needs Clients
The rules and policies of the many public assistance programs for your special-needs clients are daunting, and these clients often profess confusion and despair at their inability to successfully navigate these bureaucracies. The attorney who can bring accurate information and a knowledge of the available financial and health care resources, and how to obtain them, into the planning process will quickly be viewed as a trusted advisor for those persons with special needs and their families.

American Bar Association


Add to Cart
Card image cap
62 minutes
ADA Compliance and the Continuing Challenge of Internet and Website Accessibility
When does your Internet site have to comply with the ADA, what does it mean for an Internet site to be, "ADA compliant" and recent developments in the field, such as the proposed On-line Accessibility Act.

American Bar Association


Add to Cart