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Guardianship for Disabled Adults in Illinois

 Posted on August 08, 2017 in Family Law

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.

If a disabled person shows adequate management of only some of their affairs, the best option for a concerned party is to apply for limited guardianship. Limited guardianship permits the guardian to act for the ward only in those matters specified by the court. For example, he or she may only be given authority over matters of finance. Most judges will not grant plenary (also referred to as unlimited) guardianship over a person who can clearly manage at least part of their own affairs.

Different Types of Limited Guardianship

If a person is granted limited guardianship over a disabled adult, the guardianship will be considered one of two types. Guardians of the person are given the authority to act for the disabled person in matters of personal care, hygiene and safety. For example, medical treatments or residential placements would fall under the guardian’s purview, though Illinois law does not permit him or her to unilaterally make the decision to place the ward into a facility.

Guardians of the estate, by comparison, would assist the disabled person in making or unilaterally make decisions regarding finances. Disability income, any assets, and estate planning are examples of resources that a guardian of the estate would be able to manage or help manage. It can also provide peace of mind to a disabled person and to an honest guardian that there is language in the statute that expressly criminalizes any kind of misappropriation of the ward’s assets. The object of such a guardianship is to protect the interests of the disabled person, not to leave them susceptible to unscrupulous people.

Seek Legal Assistance

If you are a disabled adult thinking of asking for a guardian or a concerned relative ready to discuss the option with your disabled loved one, contact an experienced Lombard guardianship attorney. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation with A. Traub & Associates today.



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