How Long Does the Guardianship Process Take in Illinois

How Long Does the Guardianship Process Take in Illinois?

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

In this article, we will explain how long it takes courts to appoint a guardian in Illinois, including the general length of the guardianship process for both temporary guardianship and plenary guardianship, what consumes the majority of the time in the process, and some specific  instances that can prolong the process.

Court-appointed guardianship gives an individual the authority to act in the best interest and make decisions for another individual who is unable to do so for his or herself.  In the context of guardianship for a disabled adult, the right to make these decisions is legally taken away from the disabled adult when the guardian is appointed.  Therefore, the process must be thorough and have sufficient evidence that an incapacitated person is in need of a guardian to make important decisions for their well-being.

If temporary or emergency guardianship is needed for the safety and well-being of an individual, the court order appointing a temporary guardian can usually be obtained very quickly. Sometimes, temporary guardianship can be ordered the same day as the petition is filed. In Illinois, a temporary guardianship is valid for no more than 60 days. In some cases, a temporary guardianship is used in the time between the filing of a petition for guardianship and the conclusion of the court proceedings to appoint a permanent guardian.

In routine court-appointed guardianship cases, the most time-consuming part is preparing the documents and gathering the information needed for presentation before the court at the guardianship hearing. This includes gathering medical records and health history, as well as other relevant evidence indicating a person is incapable of making sound decisions regarding their care. All of this information needs to be compiled before an individual files a petition with the court.

Upon filing, a notice of the petition of guardianship must be served upon the potential ward and his or her family members, and other interested parties, per the Illinois Probate Act. A court hearing date will be set when the petitioner files the guardianship petition.  The hearing date is included in the notice that is served upon the ward and other interested parties. Typically, a court will reach its decision anywhere from 14 days to two months after the prospective guardian has petitioned. The entire process, including gathering all necessary records and information, generally takes at least a few months’ time.

There are some variables that can cause a guardianship case to be prolonged. A couple common instances are the availability of information required for the preparation of court papers and a judge being available soon after the filing for the hearing. Sometimes, depending on the county in which the incapacitated person lives, a high volume of guardianship cases can delay when a hearing is set.

Complications and disputes among family members of the potential ward account for a large percentage of guardianship cases being prolonged. Arguments over who should be the guardian, or whether an individual needs a guardian, can delay the process considerably, as additional litigation will likely take place.   

It is not uncommon for a disputed guardianship case to take a year or more to resolve.  During this time, the parties may engage in written discovery and depositions of expert witnesses in order to gather evidence for trial, as well as motion practice, such as motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and motions to compel answers to discovery requests.

Additional Financial Considerations
from Financial Experts

From Financial Experts

For many years, financial institutions have been creating a disservice to clients and the industry as a whole for years.
View More Professional Considerations

Presented By O'Flaherty Law

Illinois Guardianship explained

Need Legal Help? 

Schedule a

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.

Leave a Comment With Your Questions

Read more about

Guardianship Law

Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a free consultation for legal advice specific to your situation.

Here are some articles that may interest you

Contact us for a Free Consultation

Schedule a free consultation

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in:

Who We Are
We are your community law firm. Our Illinois & Iowa Attorneys are committed to providing exceptional client service in a cost-effective manner in the areas of Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Guardianship, Criminal Defense, Corporate & Contract Law, Bankruptcy and Real Estate.

Some of Our Accomplishments

Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago
DuPage County Probate Attorney
Kevin P. O'Flaherty
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...
Naperville attorney
DuPage County Probate Attorney

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required