According to Illinois law, a “guardian” is defined as a person, institution, or agency appointed by a court to manage the affairs of another person, who is referred to as their “ward.” When a child turns 18, his or her parents do not have legal guardianship at that point, since the child is now considered an adult. However, a guardian may be appointed on behalf of an adult who is disabled due to a mental illness, physical incapacity, or developmental disability.
Illinois is one of the most progressive states when it comes to guardianship laws. The Illinois Probate Act was amended in 1979 to provide statutory protection for disabled persons who are 18 or older, with new procedures for appointing guardians. Any person over the age of 18 who is of sound mind, is not a convicted criminal, and is viewed as qualified in a court of law may be appointed as the guardian of an adult with disabilities. However, this person must prove to the court that he or she has the capability to maintain an acceptable level of guardianship.
Types of Guardianship
Under the Illinois Probate Act, several different types of guardianship are available. All of the following types should be considered to ensure that the appropriate type of guardianship is secured for a disabled person, since each situation is unique. The different kinds of guardianship in Illinois include:
- Guardianship of the Person: This guardianship is necessary when a person with a disability lacks enough understanding or ability to comprehend and voice appropriate decisions concerning his or her own self. A guardian of the person makes decisions about the care, health, education, habilitation, and medical treatment for the ward.
- Guardianship of the Estate: An estate guardian decides any matters related to managing the ward’s property and monetary assets.
- Limited Guardianship: This type of guardianship is used when the disabled person can make limited decisions about his or her personal care or finances. A court order must list exactly the control or power the limited guardian has. The ward makes any other decisions that affect him or her, including his or her estate.
- Plenary Guardianship: This form of guardianship is granted when the disabled person’s mental or physical limitations require a guardian to decide on everything regarding the ward’s personal care, as well as their financial affairs. Plenary guardianship can work for both the person and the estate, depending on the circumstances.
- Temporary Guardianship: Temporary guardianship is used in emergency situations, and it makes sure the person in need receives immediate security. This type of guardianship can only last a maximum of 60 days.
- Successor Guardianship: A successor guardian might be named in instances where guardianship is still necessary after the originally-appointed guardian dies, becomes disabled, or resigns.
- Testamentary Guardianship: The parent or guardian of a disabled person may create a will that names a specific person who they would like to take on guardianship after their death. However, the designated person has to be court-approved before he or she can be appointed as guardian. The court can appoint another person if they so choose.
Contact an Oak Park Guardianship Attorney
If you are seeking guardianship of another person, you should speak to an experienced Hillside guardianship lawyer to find out how the laws in Illinois affect your situation. The Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. will work on your behalf to help you meet the legal requirements to secure guardianship, and to ensure that you have access to the resources you need to care for your ward. Call our office today at 708-449-7400 to schedule a free consultation.