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The court-appointment of a surrogate/substitute decision maker for a person over the age of 18 who is unable to make decisions due to any degree of incapacity is known as guardianship. When an individual hits the age of 18, they are granted all of the legal rights that adults have. A judge may appoint a guardian to protect them and make legal decisions for them if they are unable to understand or exercise their rights due to a lack of decisional ability.
This article discusses Adult Guardianship Frequently Asked Questions, including:
- What is guardianship?
- How long does it take to become a guardian?
- Types of Guardianship
- Is it possible to end a guardianship?
- Is it possible to amend the guardianship to alter the guardian or the form of guardianship?
- What is the maximum number of guardians an individual can have?
- Is there any kind of financial aid or government entity that might assist me in obtaining a guardianship?
What is guardianship?
The court-appointment of a surrogate/substitute decision maker for a person over the age of 18 who is unable to make decisions due to any degree of incapacity is known as guardianship. When an individual hits the age of 18, they are granted all of the legal rights that adults have. A judge may appoint a guardian to protect them and make legal decisions for them if they are unable to understand or exercise their rights due to a lack of decisional ability. Read our article to learn more about the responsibilities of a guardian.
How long does it take to become a guardian?
When should I begin the guardianship application process?
We suggest starting the process at least 2-3 months before you need guardianship. You can begin the process 2-3 months before the child's 18th birthday if they have special needs. It is important to seek legal counsel.
There are two major types of guardianship to consider when seeking guardianship for a person. Depending on the needs of the protected individual, the Petitioner(s) must seek the least restrictive form of guardianship.
- Plenary (Full) Guardianship: This is the strictest form of guardianship. The protected person's adult rights are taken away and given to the guardian to exercise.
- Limited Guardianship: This type of guardianship is less restrictive. The guardian may only exercise rights for the protected person in the areas defined by the court under this form of guardianship.
Limited guardianship may be divided into five (5) categories. Medical, financial, educational, residential, and habilitation services, as well as regular support services, are included.
There are a variety of other guardianship options, like temporary guardianship, but you should consult an attorney before determining which one is best for you.
Is it possible to end a guardianship?
When the protected individual regains decisional ability and competency, the guardianship may be terminated. Of course, the court would be involved, and the case would be reviewed at a hearing. Learn more about what happens in guardianship hearings in our article, Adult Guardianship Hearings Explained. A guardianship also ends if the appointed guardian dies or becomes disabled.
Is it possible to amend the guardianship to alter the guardian or the form of guardianship?
Yes, depending on the needs of the protected individual, a guardianship may be changed as necessary. To alter the scope of guardianship required, the court will have to be petitioned.
What types of ongoing records must I give to the court?
Guardians must submit an Annual Report on the Ward every year. Within 60 days of being named, estate guardians must file an inventory and then an Annual Accounting. An annual accounting is required of all estate guardians. For more details, consult the Guardian Manual. There are also alternatives to guardianship that can also provide a disabled adult with the help they may need.
What is the maximum number of guardians an individual can have?
In Illinois, it is common to have just one guardian. Co-guardians may be appointed in certain cases, depending on the needs of the protected individual. Often times, there may be a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem is responsible for representing the best interests of the disabled adult.
Is there any kind of financial aid or government entity that might assist me in obtaining a guardianship?
In general, there is very little support. For potential referrals, contact the local Land of Lincoln and/or Area Agency on Aging. The Illinois Office of State Guardian cannot apply for guardianship, but Illinois law allows it to be appointed as a guardian. In certain counties, the governor appoints a Public Guardian, but the Public Guardian (PG) cannot petition. The court will appoint the PG as guardian in estate cases of more than $25,000 in assets, according to Illinois law.
Is there a provision in Illinois for newly named guardians to complete guardianship training?
Yes, Public Act 100-0483, HB2665 State Guardian Training Program, became law on September 8, 2018. Except for those who are employees of the Office of State Guardian, public guardians, lawyers currently approved to practice law, corporate fiduciaries, and individuals licensed by the Center for Guardianship Certification, the State Guardian had a year to implement the law requiring guardian training (CGC).
Request a consultation with an Illinois Guardianship Attorney. Call our office at (630) 324-6666 or schedule a consultation with one of our experienced probate lawyers today. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.