Legal support. What's this?


It can hit any of us completely unprepared and unexpected: Due to a serious illness or an accident, one is suddenly no longer able to take care of one's personal affairs and to look after oneself.

If an adult is represented by another person in matters that he cannot take care of himself, one speaks of legal support. According to the law, in accordance with Section 1896 (1) of the German Civil Code (BGB), an adult must be provided with support if he “cannot deal with his affairs in whole or in part due to a mental illness or a physical, mental or emotional disability” . The supervisor is appointed by the competent local court.

Unfortunately, the term “care” is misleading. In general, people understand care to be actual care services, such as accompanying them to the doctor and shopping or providing care services. However, the legal support should not be confused with the accompanying support in the sense of support and care. The support includes the necessary personal contacts. However, constant visiting or even driving services are not part of the tasks of legal support.

Self-determined life as a goal

Rather, the task of legal support is to enable the people it supports to lead a self-determined life. The legal supervisor advises and supports the person being looked after. He acts on a representative basis, but only if the person being looked after cannot decide for himself.

The supervisor is the legal representative of the person being supervised. He represents the person under care within the task groups assigned to him by the court in and out of court. The supervisor has to deal with the affairs of the person being looked after in a way that corresponds to the wellbeing of the person being looked after.

The establishment of care does not mean that the person concerned surrenders all rights. In individual cases, the court determines, usually together with the person being cared for and the relatives, for which areas of work a carer is appointed. The following applies: a supervisor is only appointed where it is necessary, often for the area of ​​property and health care or for official matters.

Even if there is a supervisor for the area, that doesn't mean that the supervised person can no longer stand up for his or her own affairs from now on. For example, nurses should not only speak to the supervisor, but should always include the carer. In any case, it is the job of the supervisor to discuss all important decisions with the person concerned beforehand.