As parents age and children become adults, sometimes the parenting roles flip, and an adult child takes on a caretaking role for his or her parents. Age-related cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and physical disabilities can leave an older person unable to care for themselves. If your parent is suffering from a physical or mental disability, you may be curious about seeking guardianship.
Guardian of an Adult in Illinois
Guardianship is a legal tool that gives control of a person’s personal affairs and/or finances to someone else – often a relative of the disabled person. The Illinois probate court recognizes several forms of guardianship: “Guardian of the person” gives a responsible adult control over the ward’s personal and healthcare decisions. “Guardian of the estate” gives the person control over the ward’s finances.
Often, guardianship is needed because an elderly person cannot make sound decisions and/or keep themselves safe. Limited guardians can make decisions about specific concerns but do not have full control over the ward’s personal or financial affairs. A plenary guardian has the authority to make any and all major decisions about healthcare and/or finances. The same person may act as guardian of the estate and guardian of the person or different people may fill these roles.
Does My Parent Need a Guardian?
It can be hard to know when an elderly person requires guardianship. If you are like many people in this situation, you may try to balance your parent’s desire for independence with your concerns regarding his or her safety. If you are trying to make a decision about whether your parent needs a guardian, ask yourself the following questions:
Does my parent regularly get into dangerous situations or put himself or herself in harm’s way?
Does my parent skip medication, take too much medication, or make other dangerous medical mistakes?
Does my parent spend money recklessly or make rash financial decisions?
Does my parent understand the significance of the decisions he or she makes?
Can my parent communicate his or her decisions to others?
Has my parent’s cognitive functioning deteriorated to a point that he or she cannot look after himself or herself?
Ultimately, the decision about guardianship is up to the court. You can petition the court to be named guardian and attend a guardianship hearing where you will explain your reasons for seeking guardianship. You will also need an affidavit from your parent’s physician that explains his or her physical and mental capabilities.
Contact a Kane County Guardianship Lawyer
If your parent cannot make or communicate decisions for himself or herself, you may want to seek legal guardianship. The skilled St. Charles family law attorneys at MKFM Law can help. Call 630-665-7300 today for a confidential consultation to learn more.