When most people turn 18, the dawn of adulthood, it is generally assumed that individuals of this age accept the responsibilities and rights of legal adulthood. However, for adults with disabilities, turning 18 often presents new challenges, as they may be unable to control their own property, assets, and affairs.
In other cases, an adult becomes disabled later in life due to Alzheimer’s disease or another serious medical condition. Adults with disabilities may be appointed a guardian to protect their best interests.
The process of obtaining an adult guardianship can be complicated, as many difficult but necessary questions must be answered, like whether a guardian is even required, who is best suited to become a guardian, and what type of responsibility the guardian should have. This blog will delve deeper into adult guardianships in Illinois.
If you are interested in petitioning for the guardianship of another person or are the focus of a guardianship action, consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney who can work to ensure your rights stay protected and respected.
What Are the Reasons for Adult Guardianship in Illinois?
Illinois law states that the probate court can appoint a guardian for an adult who meets the requirements of needing a guardian. These requirements are generally that person does not have the ability to care for themselves or their property. According to the Illinois Probate Act, qualifying disabilities include the following:
Cognitive deciline or physical incapacitation, sometimes related to old age
Mental illness or some type of developmental disability
Substance abuse concerns, indolence, or improvidence
Fetal-alcohol syndrome and related complications
According to the Probate Act, the goal and purpose of adult guardianship are to help promote the well-being and self-reliance of adults with disabilities, including protecting them from neglect or abuse.
What is the Process for Appointing a Guardian?
If you are interested in becoming a guardian for a disabled adult, you must first file a petition with the proper probate court. This petition must address the determination of disability and selection of guardianship. In addition, you will need to explain why you would like to seek guardianship, including a physician’s report on the individual’s condition with testimonials. During this time, an attorney can work with you as you prepare your petition and build your case in court, explaining how adult guardianship is in that person’s best interests.
Someone who has already been adjudicated as being an adult with disabilities, this person will have certain rights during proceedings. For example, if you agree that guardianship supports your best interests, you will likely be able to name someone you would prefer as your guardian for the court to consider.
Moreover, suppose you wish to contest a petition for your guardianship or determination of your disability. In that case, you possess the right to have legal representation from an attorney of your choosing or an attorney appointed by the court. Furthermore, you can decide whether you would like a jury during the court proceedings, during which you can present your evidence and question witnesses. Finally, if the court appoints a guardian for you, you will have a right to petition for a modification or dissolution of the guardianship in the future should you choose to.
What Are the Types of Adult Guardianship?
If the court concludes that guardianship is necessary, two critical questions remain. For example, questions will likely pertain to whether the guardian should have authority over the adult, the estate, including money and assets, or both. If the guardian has control over the person, it likely means they are responsible for that person’s daily care and is qualified to make decisions regarding their living arrangements, education, health, and activities. Sometimes, it may also mean responsibility for the individual’s minor children.
The second question at hand will involve the extent of authority the guardian ought to have. The court must determine whether the disabled adult can handle certain personal and property matters independently, in which a limited guardian may be appointed. However, if it is determined that the person cannot provide for their own needs, a guardian with complete authority may be assigned.
Contact a Chicago, IL, Adult Guardianship Attorney
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