Co-decision-making | How it works - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Co-decision-making | How it works

Become a co-decision-maker so you can make personal decisions with, rather than for, someone who needs support.

If an adult’s ability to make personal decisions is impaired but they can make decisions with good support, co-decision-making may be an option. The adult who needs support doesn’t lose authority to make their own decisions. They share that authority with their co-decision-maker.

What’s important to know

  • If an adult has a personal directive, they don’t need a co-decision-maker.
  • If an adult has a trustee, they cannot have a co-decision-maker.
  • The Public Guardian can’t be a co-decision-maker

Watch a video about co-decision-making (Video: 2 mins, 4.6 MB)

Co-decision-making is different from guardianship, in that:

  • you make decisions with the adult, not for them
  • you share decision-making authority – e.g. if you are signing a contract for service, you need both signatures
  • the adult decides whether they want to have a co-decision-maker
  • the adult decides who their co-decision-maker is
  • the adult can choose to stop having a co-decision-maker

Co-decision-makers help make personal decisions on anything not related to money, such as:

  • where the adult lives
  • health care
  • education
  • legal affairs

The court may decide that you can help make personal decisions in some but not necessarily all areas, depending on what the adult needs.

Usually a close family member or friend applies to be the co-decision-maker. It helps to have a strong relationship so you can work through decisions together. A person can have more than one co-decision-maker.

Apply to become a co-decision-maker

When you become a co-decision-maker, the court may ask to review the file again in the future.

Learn more about co-decision-making reviews

Show Answer What's an example?

If you have a brother or sister with mild dementia or a brain injury, you could make decisions together. For example, if they need surgery, you would discuss the options together and both of you would sign the hospital consent form.

Show Answer How long does it take?

Once you submit a complete and accurate application, it usually takes three to six months before the paperwork is finalized and the court makes a decision.

Show Answer Is there a cost?

You need to get a capacity assessment done to determine whether the adult can make their own decisions.

Learn more about capacity assessments

You also pay a court filing fee of $250 when you submit your application.

If these costs are a financial hardship for you, contact the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee for more information.

If you use a lawyer to complete your application, they can charge legal fees.

Modified: 2015-06-25
PID: 17758

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