Becoming a Guardian
Have you questioned if it is time to look into finding power of attorney for an incapacitated or disabled loved one? Caring for someone in need can be an emotionally hard process and moreover legally complicated. Once you have determined that a disabled adult is in need of a guardian, you must determine who the best person is to hold the powers of guardianship. Illinois law provides that any person over 18, under certain conditions, may be found “acceptable” to the court and may be named the guardian for an adult with disabilities.
Protect Your Loved Ones By Acting as Guardian
Acting as a guardian for a disabled adult is a serious and important responsibility and plausibly over a significant period of time. Please be advised a felony conviction may prohibit a person from acting as guardian, and disclosure of convictions must be presented to the court of a felony or other serious crime. If necessary, co-guardians may be appointed. Another option is to seek a separate guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.
Apart from individuals, a private or government agency may serve as guardian for a disabled adult, and a bank may serve as guardian of the estate. The attorneys at Hays Firm are devoted to help you and your loved ones determine who should be appointed as guardian and guide you through the process.
Steps to Become a Guardian
The guardianship process begins with the filing of a petition requesting that the Court appoint a guardian for a disabled individual. In order to prepare the petition, you will need to make a list of all of the disabled adult’s family members including all contact information. You will also need to obtain a report from a licensed physician—obtained no more than 90 days before the petition for guardianship is filed.
Once filed, the court may appoint a “guardian ad litem” to investigate the matter. The guardian ad litem will contact the person or persons seeking to become guardians and meet with the disabled adult. In many cases, the guardian ad litem also contacts the disabled adult’s other family members. The guardian ad litem will then submit a report to the judge that outlines his or her investigation whether guardianship is necessary.
Next, there is a hearing, typically within 30 days after the petition was filed. At the hearing, the physician’s report will be presented to the court along with the guardian ad litem's report. If the disabled adult is too ill to come to court, his or her presence will be excused.
Please note that the disabled adult has many rights in guardianship court. For example, the disabled adult may obtain his or her own attorney for the guardianship proceedings. These rights listed in writing and provided to the disabled adult prior to the hearing.
Services Relating to Becoming a Guardian
- Review of any estate planning documents
- Determination of whether guardianship is necessary
- Determination of what type of guardianship is required
- Setting up trusts for a disabled adult family member with special needs
- Ensuring that a special needs trust is properly administered
- Preparation of documents required for guardianship
- Preparation of petition for guardianship
- Preparation prior to court hearing
- Representation in court for the proposed guardian
- Facilitation of communication with the court appointed guardian ad litem
If you feel it is time to ask the court for authority to manage the affairs of a friend, relative or loved one and to protect their best interests, please contact Hays Firm LLC to discuss your options.