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The Basics of Guardianship for a Disabled Adult

 Posted on April 05, 2018 in Estate Planning

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.

It is also important for the court to determine the level of disability and the particular aspects of life that the person needs help with. This helps the court to decide what type of guardian to appoint.

Types of Guardianship

There are several types of guardianships that can be appointed in Illinois, but they can be separated into two basic categories. The first is a guardian of the estate, which is used when the disabled person requires assistance with financial and property decisions. The second type is a guardian of the person, which gives the guardian the authority to make health-related and medical decisions for the disabled individual. If the person requires both types, a separate guardian can be appointed to each role or one person can be appointed to fill both roles.

The court also has the authority to limit a guardian’s authority. If a limited guardianship is found to be appropriate, the court will specify the powers given to the guardian. Conversely, a plenary guardianship gives the guardian the power to make all important decisions. A plenary guardianship may apply to guardians of the estate, guardians of the person, or both.

Guardian Nomination

It is possible for a person of sound mind to nominate someone to become his or her guardian if the need should ever arise. A nomination, however, is not binding. The court must still approve the nominated individual for the guardianship before the guardian will have any legal authority. The same is true for a successor guardian—which is used when an originally appointed guardian becomes unable or unwilling to fulfill his or her duties. The court will consider the nomination, but approval is not guaranteed.

Call Us for Help

If you are interested in pursuing guardianship of a friend or family member, contact an experienced Lombard guardianship attorney for help. We will assist you in understanding the law and the responsibilities associated with becoming a guardian. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today.



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