UPC Substituted Judgment/Best Interest Standard for Guardian Decisions: A Proposal for Reform, The

The introduction in 1997 of “substituted judgment” as a guiding principle for guardian decisions was a key contribution of the UPC to guardianship reform. The current UPC Section 5-314(a) instructs guardians to “consider the expressed desires and personal values of the ward” when making decisions and to “at all times … act in the ward’s best interest.” This dual mandate for guardian decisions was intended to promote the self-determination interests of incapacitated adults. This Article argues that in practice the standard has failed to achieve this goal. It analyzes the shortcomings of UPC Section 5-314(a) and other statutory decision-making standards and offers an improved decision-making model. Frolik and Wiitton propose reform of Section 5-314(a) to provide better guidance for guardians, and to harmonize the standard for guardian decisions with other surrogate decision-making standards within the UPC.