ABCD Welcomes Michael Brower of DRNJ in July

Published On: August 2nd, 2021Categories: News

Manager of the Community Inclusion Team at Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ), Michael Brower, Esq. presented for ABCD’s DDA meeting on July 28, Advancing the Rights of People with Disabilities: Decision-Making Rights for People with Disabilities.

Michael spoke for over an hour to residential and day program providers and support coordinators on the rights of an alleged incapacitated person, rights of an incapacitated person and the National Guardianship Association Standards upon which many of NJ laws are based.

The continuum of decision making includes independent, supported (seeking input on a specific issue), surrogate (others making specific decisions for you like POA for specific area and health care proxy), and substitute.

The state steps in when a person doesn’t have the capacity to protect themselves or their property; “the state is the ultimate holder of the power.”  The more important the decision, the more burden shifted to the guardian.

Michael outlined that some of the rights for an alleged incapacitated person included notice, an attorney, appearance in court and demand for a jury trial.  “Notice” in this case includes the requirement to notify the individual’s spouse, adult child, parent, physical caregiver (group home provider), trustee, proxy, and power of attorney.  Rights of the incapacitated person include the right to privacy, communicate privately with attorney or advocate, modifications of guardianship, request to remove or replace the guardian and challenge a guardian’s decisions.

Michael also discussed an area in which there is a great deal of conflict between individuals and their guardians – the individual’s right to sexual expression.  This was explained to be a serious privacy right and just because someone is generally incompetent, they can still make decisions about certain things that they understand.

Thank you, Michael, for the presentation and to you and DRNJ for all that you do to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities!

News & Advocacy