Guardianship & Supported Decision Making

At age 17, schools will mention in the IEP meeting that at age 18, all legal rights will be transferred to the student. This statement provides a year for families to be aware that the child will become a legal adult at age 18.  This transfer of rights will occur automatically. If a family has concerns that their young person is not able to make legal decisions and does not feel that they will be able to do this as an adult, families may wish to review the options.  Families may wish to discuss options with their legal counsel as this is a decision based on each individual and their situation. The information below is a starting place to gain information about options available.

About Supported Decision Making

Does my family member need guardianship?

Studies show that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who do NOT have a guardian are more likely to have a paid job, live independently, have friends other than staff or family, go on dates, socialize in the community, and practice the religion of their choice. Consider your alternatives before pursuing guardianship, which is often costly and intended to be permanent.

Adult Health Care Consent Act

SC Law - Title 44 - Chapter 66

In the event of a patient's inability to consent to necessary health care, the AHCCA and included form allow for surrogate consent to be given when deemed necessary by licensed physicians.

Protection & Advocacy Fact Sheet

When Your Child Grows Up: the Legal Effects of Becoming an Adult

When a child turns 18, he or she becomes entitled to the legal rights and duties of an adult. Generally, it does not matter whether the person has a disability. At age 18, a person is considered to be capable of making his or her own decisions unless a court has decided that the person is incapacitated. This information sheet describes some of the legal effects of becoming 18, as well as some adult rights that apply even before age 18.

Supported Decision Making Manual for Individuals and Families

Promoting Alternatives to Guardianship that Preserve Autonomy and Wellbeing

Supported Decision Making can be used in place of more restrictive means, such as guardianship, to preserve a person's autonomy and independence, while still providing the person with support from his or her family, friends, and community. This 35-page document is a comprehensive overview of the Supported Decision Making project.

Able SC

York CAN Partner
  • Participate in the Supported Decision Making Project in South Carolina
  • Information on alternatives to guardianship
  • Offices in Columbia & Greenville

720 Gracern Rd. Suite 106
Columbia, SC 29210

Disability Rights SC

York CAN Partner
  • Protect and advance the legal, civil and human rights of people with disabilities in SC
  • Legal support, education, outreach, and advocacy

3701 Landmark Drive Suite 208
Columbia, SC 29204

Family Connections

York CAN Partner
  • Provides staff to attend IEP meetings with parents

Khaled Elder Law Firm

York CAN Partner

Khaled law firm takes a holistic approach in assisting families. Areas of practice include estate planning, trust administration, guardianship and conservatorships and special needs planning


Khaled Elder, PC

Rock Hill Location:

1430 Ebenezer Road, suite 104

Rock Hill, SC 29732

Clover/Lake Wylie Address:

1474 Highway 55 East

Clover, SC 29710

South Carolina Legal Services

York CAN Partner

214 Johnston Street
Rock Hill, SC 29730

York County Probate Court

York CAN Partner

2 S Congress Street
York, SC 29745