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Lombard estate planning lawyerDo you know someone who is struggling to manage their life due to advanced age, illness or disability? Most of us know a person like this in our own families. In many cases, it is possible to help a person manage their affairs by sitting down with them and assisting them with paying bills, making health care decisions, and other aspects of everyday life. While this type of assistance is fine in some situations, others may require more drastic measures. One such option may be for you to seek guardianship of the person in question, but doing so can be complicated.

Identifying the Need for a Guardian

According to Illinois law, guardianship for an adult can only be granted by the court, but before the court can appoint a guardian, it must first determine that the adult is in need of one. Specifically, the court must find that the person in question is disabled due to deteriorating mental faculties, physical incapacitation, mental illness, or developmental disability. The court may also find a guardian to necessary for a person dealing with severe gambling, drinking, or drug problems.

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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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