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Guardianship for a Disabled Adult Child

Posted on May 19, 2017 in Family Law

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.

Be advised that if your son or daughter objects to the guardianship application, proceedings can become quite complex. In most such cases, a guardian ad litem will be appointed by the court. A guardian ad litem is an attorney or another legal professional who independently advises the court on the feasibility of the guardianship request. This is done to safeguard the interests of the disabled person and is very different from years past when it would be common for a disabled person to simply be quarantined in an asylum or r other institutions, with little regard for any ability to speak for themselves.

In Case of Emergency

Illinois does allow temporary guardianship if the disabled person is found by the court to present an immediate danger to himself or herself. This is, most often, a stopgap of sorts until a long-term guardian may be located. While such situations are rare, it is important to remember that the option is available if your child is in a situation that could result in significant harm. The immediate protection of the person and/or their estate is paramount.

Keep in mind that a temporary guardianship may not last for more than 60 days or beyond the appointment of a regular guardian. Thus, you as a parent might step in as your son or daughter’s temporary guardian, but if you do not believe they require a permanent guardian, you can simply step away after the 60 days have ended. You or your child must, of course, be able to demonstrate to the court that no guardianship is required.

Ask a Guardianship Attorney

While Illinois guardianship law is somewhat more clear-cut than such laws in other states, it can still be difficult to navigate without an experienced legal professional on your side. Contact an experienced Lombard guardianship lawyer at A. Traub & Associates to get the help you need. Call us today and schedule an appointment at any of our three convenient office locations.  



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