Guardianship Types in Illinois
Determining whether a guardianship is necessary to protect a disabled loved one from exploitation
A qualified guardianship lawyer is essential to determining if guardianship is necessary. Regardless of the type of disability, an adult who cannot make personal or business decisions for him or herself may need a guardian to legally make such decisions. A guardian is crucial to protect a disabled adult from financial predators. Valid and effective estate planning documents may set forth instructions for loved ones.
If there is a valid power of attorney document or trust, then a guardianship may be unnecessary. Guardianship will be the only mechanism that will protect a disabled adult’s financial interests and ensure his or her well-being. In Illinois, there are three types of guardianship: (1) Guardian of the Person, (2) Guardian of the Estate, and (3) Limited Guardianship of Person or Estate.
GUARDIAN OF THE PERSON
If you are appointed guardian of the person for an incapacitated person, your role is very straight forward. As long as you report annually to the court, the court’s involvement in the guardianship administration is minimal. Once a year after being appointed guardian, a written report must be presented to the judge explaining the disabled adult’s well-being: the “Annual Report.”
GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE
If you are appointed as guardian of the estate, your role is subject to more intense monitoring by the court. After you are officially appointed, you will need to create an inventory of the disabled adult’s income and assets. This inventory must be presented to the judge within 60 days, also requiring the guardian to create a budget for the year at times.
Additionally, each year, the guardian must submit an “accounting” that provides specific details regarding any income the incapacitated person received and any debts paid on behalf of the incapacitated person.
LIMITED GUARDIANSHIP OF PERSON OR ESTATE
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 or of the estate is possible.
Guardianship Legal Services
Our experienced guardianship law attorneys can provide the following legal services:
REVIEWING ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS
The guardianship law attorneys at Hays Firm will review all relevant estate planning and power of attorney documents and help determine if a guardianship proceeding can be avoided.
DETERMINING TYPE OF GUARDIANSHIP
Our attorneys will help determine what type of guardianship, if any, is necessary.
PREPARING NECESSARY DOCUMENTS
Our attorneys will prepare the documents required for guardianship and commence guardianship proceedings.
PROTECTING A DISABLED ADULT
We will help you protect a disabled loved one from financial exploitation with a guardianship if necessary.
SETTING UP SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST
Our attorneys will set up trusts for a disabled adult family member with special needs.
More Info About Guardianship Types
What is a guardianship?
The term “guardianship” refers to the process whereby the court appoints a guardian for an individual. This appointment occurs only after the Court determines the individual can no longer make personal or financial decisions for themselves. If an individual does not have valid power of attorney documentation or a trust in place which describes what is to happen in the event of their disability, a guardianship proceeding will likely be necessary in order to protect their financial interests and ensure their well-being.
What is a guardian of the person?
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 about the disabled adult’s well-being to the court once per year.
What is a guardian of the estate?
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 must 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.
Is guardianship necessary if the disabled person has a valid Power of Attorney?
Valid and effective estate planning documents may set forth instructions for loved ones. If there is a valid power of attorney document or trust, then a guardianship may be unnecessary. Guardianship will be the only mechanism that will protect a disabled adult’s financial interests and ensure his or her well-being.
Is it necessary for the guardian to go to court?
It is necessary for the guardian to appear at the first court appearance. After that, we will represent the guardian and handle all matters before the court. However, guardians sometimes do appear before the court in the instance where a special type of petition is presented to the court, such as asking for funds for caretakers, improvements of the home, or other special issues which the guardian is uniquely qualified to discuss with the court.
Does the disabled person have to go to court?
If the disabled person cannot go to court, the court will appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem will visit with the Respondent (Someone who has had a guardianship petition filed against them) and after that meeting the Respondent will not need to appear before the court.
Can a person object to guardianship?
Yes. A Respondent can object to the appointment of a guardian. If they do, the guardian ad litem will inform the court that the Respondent objects and the court will then appoint an attorney to represent the Respondent for the purpose of opposing the petition for guardianship.
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