Decision-making assistance agreement

If you have difficulty making certain decisions on your own without help, you can appoint someone you trust to act as a decision making assistant under a decision-making assistance agreement. This agreement lets you specify decisions you need help with and gives someone the legal authority to help you to make those decisions for yourself. These decisions can be about your personal welfare or your property and money matters.

Your decision-making assistant will help you to gather information and explain it to you. They can help you to understand and weigh up your options. They can also help to let other people know what your decision is.

The agreement can be for a certain period of time, or it can be ongoing. You can have more than one decision-making assistant in your agreement.

How do I make a decision-making assistance agreement?

You will be able to appoint a decision-making assistant by making a decision-making assistance agreement. The agreement must be in writing and include details of the decisions that your decision-making assistant will help you with. It must include a statement by you that you understand the agreement. Your decision-making assistant must confirm that they understand their duties and will carry them out.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is currently making rules that will set out more requirements for making this type of agreement. We will provide you with more information as soon as we can.

How do I find out if someone has a decision-making assistance agreement?

If you tell us when you have made a decision-making assistance agreement, we will review it to make sure it meets the legal requirements. The benefit of telling us is that we can provide you with a certified copy of the agreement which can be used by your decision-making assistant to show that they have the legal authority to help you.

If you want to find out if someone else has a decision-making assistance agreement, you can ask to see a certified copy of their agreement.

Monitoring a decision-making assistant agreement

Your decision-making assistant is not required to submit reports to us unless we request them.

We can send someone to talk to you or your decision-making assistant who can provide us with a report on certain matters relating to the agreement. For example, we can send a general visitor or a special visitor if we receive a complaint about your decision-making assistant or if we want to check that the agreement is working the way that it should.

Ending a decision-making assistance agreement

You or your decision-making assistant can end the decision-making assistance agreement at any time. It does not need to be replaced by another type of decision support arrangement. However, if you need more support for making decisions, you might need a co-decision-making agreement or a decision-making representative.

Changing a decision-making assistance agreement

You can decide to change your decision-making assistance agreement at any time. Any changes must come from you and not your decision-making assistant. However, your decision-making assistant will need to agree to the changes.

What does it cost?

There will be a fee to notify us about the decision-making assistant agreement. There will also be a fee to receive a certified copy of the agreement.

Some people may not have to pay a fee, or will pay a lesser fee. This will depend on your individual circumstances, including your income or certain benefits you receive.

Further information on fees will be available closer to commencement of the service.