S.B. No. 972
DECLARATIONS FOR MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT
Governor Bush signed SB 972 on June 20, 1997. SB 972 becomes effective September 1, 1997.
SB 972 adds Chapter 137 to the Civil Practices and Remedies Code. This new chapter sets forth the requirements for a new type of disability planning document -- a Declaration for Mental Health Treatment. The bill, which establishes a statutory form (click here to download the form in WordPerfect 5.1 format) which is mandatory (nonstandard forms are not permitted, gives persons who are not incapacitated the ability to specify which mental health treatments they want and which treatments they don't want.
This disability planning document is not for everyone -- it's not going to be used like the statutory durable power of attorney and the durable power of attorney for health care as a standard part of most clients' estate plans. Rather, it seems geared to persons who have reason to believe that their need for mental health treatment is imminent. The declaration lasts for three years, but it continues beyond the three-year period of the declarant is incapacitated at the expiration of the three-year period. Incapacity is determined by either a guardianship proceeding or a medication hearing under Section 574.106 of the Health and Safety Code.
If a person makes a declaration for mental health treatment and later needs a guardian, the declaration continues in effect, and the guardian is bound by it.