Is Guardianship Necessary?
Regardless of the type of disability, an adult (under Illinois law—any individual 18 years of age and over) who cannot make personal or business decisions for him or herself may need a guardian to legally make such decisions. A guardian is also crucial to protect a disabled adult from financial predators. If you believe a friend or loved may need a guardian, the attorneys at Hays Firm can guide you through the process of becoming a guardian.
In some cases, guardianship may not be necessary if an adult becomes disabled. Valid and effective estate planning documents may set forth instructions for loved ones. However, if an adult does not have valid power of attorney documentation or a trust in place that describes what is to happen in the event of his or her disability, a guardianship will be necessary. Guardianship will be the only mechanism that will protect a disabled adult’s financial interests and ensure his or her well-being.
Types of Guardianship
Prior to becoming a guardian, it is necessary to determine what type of guardianship is necessary. In Illinois, there are two types of guardianship: (1) Guardian of the Person and (2) Guardian of the Estate. A “guardian of the person” is responsible for all personal decisions for the disabled adult, including any and all healthcare decisions. The guardian of the person may also place the disabled adult in a nursing home or other residential facility if the disabled adult requires such care. A guardian of the person must provide a report to the court about the disabled adult’s well-being, once per year.
A “guardian of the estate” is responsible for all business and financial decisions for the disabled adult. A guardian of the estate must provide an inventory of the disabled person’s assets and present an annual budget. Each year, the guardian of the estate mush present to the court a detailed accounting. The detailed accounting must show each and every dollar spent from the disabled adult’s assets. A guardian of the estate may not be necessary if the disabled adult does not have income or financial assets.
Illinois recognizes that some disabled adults may be able to make basic decisions regarding their person. Therefore, a “limited guardianship” is available. A limited guardianship may be preferable as it promotes independence and self-reliance. A limited guardianship of the person and of the estate is possible.
Whichever may be the case, or if it is not clear, Hays Firm has the extensive experience in guardianship and elder law to help you and your loved ones.
List of Services Relating to Types of Guardianship
- Review of 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
- Protecting a disabled individual from financial exploitation
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.