Help with personal decisions

Co-decision-maker authority allows you to assist an adult who needs help with making personal decisions on their own. The co-decision-maker and adult work through decisions together – and the adult makes the final decision.

Who needs a co-decision-maker

Adults who need a co-decision-maker

  • are 18 years of age or older
  • have had a capacity assessment completed that indicates they need a co-decision-maker
  • need help understanding information
  • need guidance and support to make personal decisions
  • less intrusive and less restrictive options are not likely to be effective
  • do not have an enacted personal directive or a court-appointed guardian
  • do not have a court-appointed trustee

The adult decides:

  • if they want a co-decision-maker
  • who the co-decision-maker is
  • if they want an additional co-decision-maker – and who that is
  • when to stop having a co-decision-maker

Minors who will need a co-decision-maker

  • will be 18 years old in the next year
  • will need guidance and support to make personal decisions after they become an adult

If you want the court order to go into effect when the minor turns 18, you must apply as soon as possible after the minor turns 17.

Just because someone disagrees with an adult’s decisions does not mean they do not have the ability to make their own decisions. If they fully understand the impact of a decision, they’re probably capable of making it.

Types of decisions

Co-decision-makers can help with personal, non-financial decisions about:

  • healthcare
  • where to live
  • who to associate with
  • participation in educational, vocational and other training
  • participation in social activities
  • employment
  • legal proceedings

Depending on the adult’s needs, a co-decision-maker might only be needed for some decisions. The court decides:

Is co-decision-making needed

You may want to look into other options for personal decision-making, such as:

How long will it take

To become a co-decision-maker, it usually takes 6 months – from the time your paperwork is ready to be submitted to court – before the court makes a decision.

Is there a cost

There are costs for different parts of this process:

  • legal fees – if you use a lawyer to complete the application
  • capacity assessment – charged by the capacity assessor for the completion of the assessment
  • court filing fees – up to $250 for the court to process your documentation
  • background check fee – for the background check to be completed so the results can be provided to the court with your application

If these costs are a financial hardship for you, contact the OPGT.

Requirements to be a co-decision-maker

The adult selects someone they trust to be their co-decision-maker. The co-decision-maker must:

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • consent to being a co-decision-maker
  • consider the views and wishes of the adult
  • have a relationship with the adult
  • be available to help make decisions – and provide consent
  • work co-operatively with the adult
  • not have a conflict with the adult
  • complete a criminal record check and reference checks – following the OPGT’s process

The OPGT can't be a co-decision-maker.

Your responsibilities as a co-decision-maker

As a co-decision-maker, you share authority with the adult. This means you also have a responsibility to:

  • act in the adult’s best interests
  • be diligent and act in good faith
  • assist the adult to access, collect or obtain information to make decisions
  • discuss relevant information with the adult
  • sign consent forms together

You can't:

  • refuse to sign anything – unless it might harm the adult
  • make financial decisions

A co-decision-maker has a responsibility to:

  • only access information that has been authorized and is needed for a decision
  • keep personal information about the adult safe from unauthorized access, use or disclosure

Apply to be an adult’s co-decision-maker

To be an adult’s co-decision-maker – and to ensure you follow the correct process and complete the correct paperwork – you need to consider which way to apply:

  • without a hearing (desk application)
  • with a hearing
Without a Hearing (Desk Application) With a Hearing
  • if you don't expect anyone to disagree with the application
  • not time sensitive
  • you don't need to appear in court
  • the judge makes a decision based on the paperwork you submit
  • someone might disagree with the application
  • time sensitive
  • you or your lawyer appears in court
  • application is discussed with the judge
  • the judge makes a decision based on the paperwork you submit and the discussion in court

To start the application process
Select the one option below that best meets the adult’s situation:

  • Co-decision-making – desk application

    You may want to contact a fee-for-service provider or a lawyer for this process.

    Step 1. Get a capacity assessment

    Have a professional assess whether the adult can make decisions on their own. This is called a capacity assessment. It can be completed by a:

    The capacity assessment must be dated sometime in the 6 months before you submit your application.

    Step 2. Fill out the application forms

    Download and fill out these forms:

    Form 1: Application for Appointment of a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 79 KB)

    Form 2: Affidavit of Applicant – Application to Appoint a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 162 KB)

    Form 5: Order – Appointment of Co-decision-maker (DOC, 100 KB)

    Form 11: Consent of Proposed Assisted Adult (PDF, 34 KB)

    Form 12: Consent of Proposed Co-decision-maker (PDF, 32 KB)

    Form 30: Personal References (XDP, 30 KB)

    Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

    Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

    1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
    2. Launch Adobe Reader.
    3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

    Step 3. Submit your application package

    Submit your application package to your local OPGT office.

    When you submit your application

    Courthouse staff will contact you by email to request electronic payment by credit card or VISA-debit card of the $250 court filing fee.

    If you do not wish to pay electronically:

    • Include a cheque, bank draft, or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta with your application.
    • Your cheque will be cashed when your application is submitted to the court, which may take up to 6 months.

    After you apply

    OPGT staff will:

    • send a Notice of Application to:
      • the people listed as interested parties in the application
      • anyone else they think should know about the application
    • contact the proposed co-decision-maker about the background check and cost
    • talk with the adult to ask them what they think about the application
    • prepare a report for the court
    • send a copy of the report to you

    If someone doesn’t support your application, they can request a court hearing to oppose it.

  • Co-decision-making – with a hearing

    You may want to contact a fee-for-service provider or a lawyer for this process.

    Step 1. Get a capacity assessment

    Have a professional assess whether the adult can make decisions on their own. This is called a capacity assessment. It can be completed by a:

    The capacity assessment must be dated sometime in the 6 months before you submit your application.

    Step 2. Fill out the application forms

    Download and fill out these forms:

    Form 1: Application for Appointment of a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 79 KB)

    Form 2: Affidavit of Applicant – Application to Appoint a Co-decision-maker (PDF, 162 KB)

    Form 4: Notice of Application and Hearing – Appointment of Co-decision-maker (PDF, 38 KB)

    Form 5: Order – Appointment of Co-decision-maker (DOC, 100 KB)

    Form 11: Consent of Proposed Assisted Adult (PDF, 34 KB)

    Form 12: Consent of Proposed Co-decision-maker (PDF, 32 KB)

    Form 30: Personal References (XDP, 30 KB)

    Trouble opening or completing PDF forms?

    Fillable forms do not open properly on some mobile devices and web browsers. To fill in and save this form:

    1. Click on the PDF link to save it on your computer.
    2. Launch Adobe Reader.
    3. Open the PDF from within Adobe Reader. You can now fill and save your form.

    Step 3. Submit your application package

    You or your lawyer:

    • submit your application to the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench
    • set a hearing date
    • sends a Notice of Application to all the interested parties

    When you submit your application

    Courthouse staff will contact you by email to request electronic payment by credit card or VISA-debit card of the $250 court filing fee.

    If you do not wish to pay electronically:

    • Include a cheque, bank draft, or money order for the $250 court filing fee made out to the Government of Alberta with your application.
    • Your cheque will be cashed when your application is submitted to the court, which may take up to 6 months.

    A copy of the application package you filed with the court must be served to the OPGT at least 30 days before the hearing date.

    If you are working with a lawyer, they’ll do this for you

    After you apply

    OPGT staff will:

    • contact each proposed or alternate co-decision-maker about the background check process and cost
    • talk with the adult to ask them what they think about the application
    • prepare a report for the court
    • send a copy of the report to you

    You’re responsible to notify all interested parties about the hearing date.

    If an interested party opposed the application, they or their lawyer must attend the hearing to voice their concerns.

When a court order is granted

The newly-appointed co-decision-maker is legally responsible to provide a copy of the court order to to:

  • the adult
  • other interested parties
  • the OPGT

Read the court order carefully to learn:

  • who has been appointed
  • what authority has been granted
  • when the order needs to be reviewed
  • any other provisions

How co-decision-making authority ends

By the adult

The adult can stop having a co-decision-maker at any time by following these steps:

Step 1. Fill out the form

Form 13: Withdraw of Consent of Assisted Person (PDF, 31 KB)

Step 2. Submit the form

You or your lawyer file the form with the clerk of the Court of Queen’s Bench.

By the co-decision-maker

The co-decision-maker can also end their support if they’re no longer able to act as the co-decision-maker by completing a co-decision-making review.

Adult loses capacity to make decisions

If the adult is no longer making decisions, then an application should be made to appoint a guardian.

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