Making a co-decision-making assistance agreement?

You can choose a co-decision-maker by making a co-decision-making agreement. The agreement must be in writing and must be signed by you and your co-decision-maker. The agreement needs to be witnessed by two other people. It must contain details of the decisions that you and your co-decision-maker will make together.

There are important legal implications when you make a co-decision-making agreement. If you include decisions in the agreement, those decisions must be made jointly with your co-decision-maker. This means you should think carefully about the types of decisions you want to include in your agreement. It may be useful to discuss this with your loved ones and people you trust.

You will need a doctor or another healthcare professional to assess your capacity and confirm that you are able to enter into the agreement.

The agreement must be registered with us before it can take legal effect. You and your co-decision-maker must tell certain people, like your spouse and adult children, about the agreement. You must also provide them with copies of the agreement.

You can have more than one co-decision-making agreement, but you can only have one co-decision-maker for each agreement.

Making a co-decision-making agreement – step by step

Making a co-decision-making agreement takes a number of steps. This includes getting forms completed by different people, including your doctor or another healthcare professional. You may need a person you trust to help you to complete one or more of these steps.

We will provide you with the forms and templates you will need to make a co-decision-making agreement and to apply to register it with us.

The easiest way to make a co-decision-making agreement is by setting up an account on our online portal myDSS and completing an application online. If you cannot access a computer or set up an account online, that is no problem. You can contact us, and we will help you set up your account.

For information on paper applications, please visit the DSS accessibility policy at the following link DSS Accessibility Policy.

Before you begin

There are a number of steps involved in making a co-decision-making agreement. Before you begin the application, you should decide:

  • Who do you want your co-decision-maker to be?
  • What types of decisions do you want them to help you with now and in the future?
  • Are there any decisions you do not want or need help with?
  • Are there any organisations, businesses or professionals that will want to see a copy of your co-decision-making agreement?
  • The DSS has an Accessibility Policy, click on the link Accessibility Policy for information.

Steps to make a co-decision-making agreement

This section tells you about the different steps you will need to take if you want to make a co-decision-making agreement using our online portal. We are available to assist you and provide information and guidance at every step in the process.

1. Set up your account on myDSS

You can make a co-decision-making agreement using our online portal myDSS. To do this, you will first have to set up a fully verified account. The person who will act as your decision making assistant must also have their identity verified and have a MyDSS account. You can use this account to manage your application. 

You can find detailed instructions and watch videos on how to open and verify an account in our MyDSS 'How to' Videos section of the website at the link MyDSS How to Videos

2. Fill out the co-decision-making agreement application

Once you have logged into your myDSS account you will need to tell us which decision support arrangement you want to make. You can start a new application. When you select the type of arrangement, you should pick co-decision-making agreement.

The first part of the application is the co-decision-making agreement form. There are four sections in this form:

  • Relevant person details – this is information about you, the person making the agreement
  • Supporter details – this is information about the person you are choosing to be your co-decision-maker
  • Existing arrangements – in this section, you need to tell us if you have any other existing decision support arrangements
  • Arrangement decisions – in this section you tell us about the decisions you want support with and want to make jointly with your co-decision-maker

3. Download template forms

After you have filled out the four sections of the form and you are happy with what you have included in your co-decision-making agreement, you can save it and download the following forms:

 

Form

About
Co-decision-making agreement template This is a copy of your co-decision-making agreement so far. You will need to give this to your notice parties, the person assessing your capacity and the people witnessing the agreement
Appointer declaration form This is the part of your co-decision-making agreement that you sign in front of two witnesses. You will have to confirm that you understand and agree to enter into the agreement
Co-decision-maker declaration form This is the part of your co-decision-making agreement that your co-decision-maker signs in front of two witnesses
Statement of capacity form This is the form your doctor or another healthcare professional fills in after they have assessed your capacity
Character reference form Two different people fill in this form to tell us about the type of person your co-decision-maker is
Notice form This is the form you give to your notice parties to let them know about the co-decision-making agreement. You can download this form as many times as you need to, depending on how many notice parties you have

 

4. Get character references for your co-decision-maker

Your co-decision-maker must ask two people to complete the character reference form. These people must be over 18 years of age.

5. Take the co-decision-making agreement to your doctor or another healthcare professional

You must ask your doctor, or another healthcare professional to assess your ability to make the co-decision-making agreement and to make the decisions included in your agreement with the support of your co-decision-maker. After the doctor or healthcare professional has assessed your capacity, they will complete the Statement of Capacity Form.

6. Sign the declarations in your co-decision-making agreement in front of your witnesses

You and your co-decision-maker must sign the declarations in your co-decision-making agreement in front of two witnesses. Both witnesses must be over 18 years of age and at least one of them must not be an immediate family member of you or your co-decision-maker.

If you are physically unable to complete the declaration, someone else can sign this on your behalf. They must do this in front of you and your witnesses.

From this step, you have 5 weeks to send your co-decision-making agreement to us

7. Tell your notice parties about the co-decision-making agreement

You must tell the following people that you are making the co-decision-making agreement and give them a copy of the agreement, including the signed declarations:

  • Your spouse, civil partner or co-habitant
  • Any of your children who are 18 years or over
  • Any decision supporters appointed under another decision support arrangement

These people are called your notice parties. You must send the notice form, along with a copy of the co-decision-making agreement, including the signed declarations, to each one of your notice parties.

8. Upload completed forms and statements

After you have completed all of the required forms, signed the declarations and notified your notice parties, you can upload the forms to myDSS. You will need to give us details of your witnesses and notice parties at this time.

9. Pay the registration application fee

You must now pay the registration fee for your application before you submit your application. You can also apply to have the fee waived in this section, which means you do not have to pay based on your income and dependents.

The DSS do not process cheques, postal orders, or bank drafts. All payments should be made electronically through your MyDSS portal account.  

If you do not have a MyDSS portal account and proceeding to a manual application using one of our application forms, payment can be made over the phone once your application and supporting documents submitted for review are complete. One of our staff will be in contact with you when payment is required. 

10. Submit your application

After completing all of the steps, you can now submit your application to us. We will review the application to make sure you have sent us all of the necessary information and to check that it meets the legal requirements.

After you submit your application

After you submit your application to register a co-decision-making agreement we will review the application and supporting documents provided to check that they meet legal requirements. We will check that you have followed the required steps and that your co-decision-maker is a suitable person to support you.

We may need to ask you or your co-decision-maker for more information.

We will decide whether to approve or decline your application. If we think we may need to decline your application, we will let you know and give you an opportunity to provide us with further information. You can also ask us to review our decision, or you can appeal it to court.

If we decide to approve your application, we will let you know and send you a certified copy of the co-decision-making agreement. We will put the agreement on a register, which means it may be searched by people or organisations who have a good reason to view it.

Find out more

You can read more about making a co-decision-making agreement in our guidance material, which can be found in our Resources section. They include important information about:

  • The things you need to consider before you make a co-decision-making agreement
  • The types of decisions you can get help with
  • What the person you choose to help you can and cannot do and what their responsibilities are
  • What happens after you have made a co-decision-making agreement
  • Steps for completing the co-decision-making agreement application
  • A step by step guide to using our online portal at the link myDSS to make a co-decision-making application
  • Click on the link to bring you to the template forms for making decision support arrangements and or making a complaint.