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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard guardianship lawyersIn Illinois and indeed all over the country, there are children and disabled people who require a bit of extra help to have their needs met. While most often, people have family members to act for them, those who do not may need temporary or permanent guardians. There are specific procedures one must follow to become one and specific rules to be followed once one has the position.

General Guardianship Information

Most guardianship proceedings are conducted through the probate court. However, guardianship of a child differs slightly from seeking the guardianship of a disabled person in that guardianship of a minor automatically ceases when that child turns 18. Able-bodied adults over 18 are entitled to a rebuttable presumption that they can handle their own affairs. As such, obtaining guardianship for a 17-year-old may be more difficult and less practical than seeking guardianship over a 10-year-old simply because it would expire so quickly.

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Lombard family law attorneysDisabled adults are in a difficult position in our society. Some require extensive support in their daily lives. Others require far less, but still may have markedly different experiences than able-bodied people. Each person’s situation is unique, and Illinois maintains guardianship laws that allow for maximum flexibility. The goal is to ensure that some of the most egregious abuses of the disabled occur far less frequently in the state than in others with more traditional guardianship regulations. If you are the relative of a disabled adult and are considering applying for guardianship, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with Illinois regulations.

Degrees of Guardianship

Illinois law makes allowances for the fact that there are varying levels of mental and physical disability, and that one level of guardianship is not sufficient to encompass the varied experiences of such people. Unlike many other states, Illinois law states explicitly that the mere existence of a mental or physical disability is not sufficient grounds to require guardianship. It must also be shown that the disabled person is incapable of making or communicating responsible decisions about their personal care, their finances, or both.

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Posted on in Family Law

Lombard family law attorneysWith the recent change in administration, many LGBTQ parents and family members have expressed concern over the possibility of modifications to current statutes and legal precedents that may affect them and their families adversely. Though many believe such fears unfounded, it is never a bad idea to double-check that all relevant legal documents, including adoption or birth certificates, marriage licenses, and travel documents are in order.

Marriages and Estate Planning

Perhaps the primary concern of many LGBTQ families is the issue of marriage equality. While a Supreme Court decision usually settles a matter, at least for some time, the new administration has given indications that it would like to see 2015’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges overturned. While a president cannot unilaterally overturn a Supreme Court decision, he may, in theory, appoint justices who can, and this causes real concern for many. President Trump’s appointment of Justice of Neil Gorsuch seemed to validate this concern among pundits and skeptics.

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Lombard family law attorneyIn Illinois, the law presumes that anyone over age 18 is capable of making decisions and handling affairs for himself or herself. Yet, circumstances may arise where a person is not capable of doing so. If this has happened to one of your family members or loved ones, you may wonder what you can do to ensure that this person does not waste their resources or make harmful mistakes. Guardianship is one option you may wish to consider.

When Is Guardianship Appropriate?

Guardianship should be considered when a person cannot make basic life decisions or is not able to manage money or property. People of any age may require a guardian. 

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Lombard guardianship lawyerWhen you are the parent of a disabled child, it is common to assume that he or she will never be able to advocate for himself or herself. While some do require assistance during their lifetime, not every disabled person requires guardianship once they reach adulthood. It can often be up to you as a parent to decide whether guardianship is necessary or whether your child can handle his or her own affairs.

Dealing With Probate Court

Guardianship for adults is handled in Illinois by the Probate Court. Disability is not the only potential grounds for which a guardianship may be sought, but it is the most common. There is a rebuttable presumption in Illinois law that an adult over the age of 18 can manage their own affairs. If this is not the case for your son or daughter, you need to be prepared to show evidence to that effect, with a detailed report of your child’s challenges and strengths. Illinois is somewhat unique in that plenary or total guardianship is generally considered a last resort and is only used if the person in question displays a complete lack of ability to manage their own affairs. Limited guardianship is preferable.

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