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Lombard guardianship lawyersIf you wish to be the primary caregiver of a friend or family member who is unable to care for themselves, one option which you have available in Illinois is guardianship. Guardianship can be granted by a judge to help an adult who cannot make general life decisions on his or her own. Guardian responsibilities are categorized into two groups: financial/estate responsibilities and personal responsibilities. In Illinois, there can be separate guardians for a person and their estate or the same person can look after the disabled individual’s personal needs and make estate decisions.

Guardian Qualifications

In order to become a person’s legal guardian, you must be at least 18 years old, not legally disabled, a United States resident, cognitively capable of caring for another, and free from certain prior felony convictions. If the disabled person in question wishes for you to become his or her guardian, such wishes will be considered by the court, but the court is not obligated to approve you as a guardian.

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Lombard estate planning attorneyAccording to a CNBC.com survey, over one-third of high-net-worth families have failed to take even basic steps to provide for their loved ones when they die and to ensure that their final wishes are granted. More specifically, 38 percent of people with over $1 million or more in assets have not created an estate plan.

Many people do not realize the ways a comprehensive estate plan can help them and their loved ones, while others mistakenly believe that they do not make enough money to qualify for an estate plan. Another reason many otherwise financially-savvy people do not have an estate plan is because it can be exhausting and overwhelming to try to plan everything on your own. Studies show that some individuals suffer from what is called “estate planning fatigue” which makes them less likely to have up-to-date, enforceable estate plans.

Constant Changes to the Federal Estate Tax Laws Have Been Confusing

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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 estate planning lawyersAccording to surveys, only about 40% of Americans have a last will and testament and much fewer have a comprehensive estate plan. There are many reasons why people neglect to plan for their future in this way. Some people are simply unaware of the ways an estate plan can help protect their wishes and decrease the burden on their family. Others assume that they do not have enough assets or make enough money to qualify for estate planning. The reality is that everyone can benefit from planning for the future using estate planning tools.

They Think They Do Not Need a Will If They Are Young and in Good Health

In movies, wills are only written by characters who have just learned that they have a terminal illness or are otherwise planning to die. This is very misleading. One of the worst times to write a will is when you are in bad health. A person should write a last will and testament while they are still cognitively competent to do so. A will written by a person of questionable mental capacity due to old age, dementia, or another illness is very vulnerable to being contested, or formally disputed in court. Furthermore, there is no need to wait until an advanced age to write a will or create a trust which determines how your assets are distributed after your death. The best idea is to create a will while you are young and to simply update it as your life circumstances change.

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Lombard advance medical directive attorneysAlthough it has been nearly 13 years since she passed away, many people still remember the name Teri Schiavo from the famous right-to-die legal case which spanned from 1990 to 2005. Schiavo was only 26 years old when she suffered cardiac arrest which left her in a persistent vegetative state. Although the young woman was alive, doctors explained that she would probably never gain full consciousness.

Schiavo’s husband felt that his wife would not have wanted to be kept alive through machines and fed through feeding tubes and requested that his wife have her feeding tube removed. The woman’s parents fervently disagreed with this plan and battled in court to keep their daughter alive. The case sparked increased interest in advance directive measures that allow a person to ensure their wishes regarding medical treatment will be followed in the event they are incapacitated.

Half of Elderly Hospital Patients Unable to Communicate Wishes

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