Guidance For Establishing Legal Guardianships

In the event an adult becomes incapable of making sound decisions regarding financial matters or health care, it may be necessary for a family member or other trusted adult to have legal authority to make decisions on that person's behalf. A person who obtains legal authority to care for the personal and property interests is called a guardian. The person whose interests are being safeguarded is a ward. Guardianships are frequently established for elderly relatives or for adults with disabilities.

The experienced estate planning attorneys at John J. Pembroke & Associates LLC, assist Chicago-area residents in establishing guardianships. We create guardianships as part of the comprehensive estate plans we develop for our clients. We also help families with disabled adult children establish special needs trusts that can provide financial assistance throughout their life. We also represent clients in estate litigation involving guardianships.

Understanding Illinois Guardianships

There are many types of guardianship. However, under Illinois law, all adult guardianships fall into one of two basic categories: guardianship of the person or guardianship of the estate. Guardianship of the person refers to health care decisions, including medical decisions, whether a person requires assisted living and other needs.

Guardianship of the estate refers to financial decisions, and is necessary when a person is incapable of making sound financial management decisions. A person who receives guardianship of the estate is legally responsible for safeguarding the ward's income and assets.

Obtaining A Guardianship

In order to be named a guardian for a loved one, a petition is filed in probate court by an "interested person." Reports will be provided regarding the intended ward's health, mental faculties, financial situation and other matters. A hearing will be scheduled in which the person petitioning to be the guardian will

Under the Illinois Probate Act, the court has the flexibility to appoint a limited guardian, who can only make the decisions the court authorizes, or a plenary guardian, who is able to make all decisions regarding personal care and/or finances for the ward.

Determining Whether A Guardianship Is Right For You

The guardianship process is complex. It is important to work with a lawyer who will explain all of your options as well as the responsibilities and liability that exist once guardianship is established. We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions and help you determine if guardianship is the proper step for your situation.

Call 707-770-9422 or use our online contact form to schedule a meeting. We work with clients throughout the Chicago area from our office in Park Ridge.