Adult Guardianship proceedings are court cases whereby an individual is appointed to be responsible for the personal care and management of the finances of an adult who is mentally incompetent. In order to initiate an adult guardianship proceeding in Illinois, the person seeking to be appointed as guardian must file a Petition for Guardianship with the appropriate court.
The goal of this article is to explain how to prepare and file a petition for adult guardianship in Illinois. For a broader overview of the adult guardianship process, check out our previous article: Adult Guardianship in Illinois Explained.
A Petition for Guardianship must contain the following information if the information is known or reasonably ascertainable:
A “physician’s report” (also known as a “physician’s affidavit”) should be filed along with the Petition for Guardianship. The physician’s report is a doctor’s determination that the respondent is unable to competently make decisions on his or her own.
The physician’s report must include the following information:
The report must be signed by a licensed physician who has examined the respondent within the past three months as well as anyone else who assisted the physician in preparing the report.
If there is a reason that you cannot obtain a physician’s report prior to filing your petition, such as the respondent’s refusal to submit to testing, you may file your petition without an accompanying report and request that the court issue an order requiring the respondent to submit to a medical examination for the purpose of obtaining a physician’s report.
It is important to file your Petition for Guardianship in the proper court, otherwise the petition will be dismissed based on filing in an improper “venue.” Each county in Illinois has its own circuit court. The petition must be filed in the respondent’s county of residence. If the respondent is not a resident of Illinois, the petition must be filed in the county where the respondent’s property is located.
In adult guardianship cases, the petitioner must serve the respondent with a summons at least 14 days prior to the guardianship hearing. The hearing must be held at least 30 days after the filing of the petition. The summons will inform the respondent of the date and time of the hearing. The Illinois Probate Act (744 ICLS 5/11a(10(e)) requires that the summons contain specific statutory language notifying the respondent of his or her rights.