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How to File a Petition for Adult Guardianship in Illinois

Updated on
November 1, 2019
Article written by
Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

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.

What Must Be Included in a Petition for Guardianship in Illinois?

A Petition for Guardianship must contain the following information if the information is known or reasonably ascertainable:

  • The relationship of the person filing the petition to the person over whom guardianship is sought.  This person is known as the “respondent.”
  • The name, place of residence, and date of birth of the respondent.
  • The reason that guardianship is being sought;
  • The names and addresses of any current guardian or agents appointed in the respondent’s healthcare or financial powers of attorney;
  • The name and addresses of the spouse, adult children, parents, and adult siblings of the respondent.  If none of these are living, then the nearest adult relatives of the respondent should be listed.
  • The name address of the person or institution with which the respondent is currently residing.
  • The approximate value of the respondent’s assets.
  • The expected annual income of the respondent.  
  • The following information for the proposed guardian: name, address, age, occupation, and relationship to the respondent.

What is a Physician’s Report in a Guardianship Case?

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:

  • A description of the respondent’s disability;
  • An explanation of how the disability affects the respondent’s ability to function and make decisions;
  • An analysis of any tests performed regarding the respondent’s condition;
  • information regarding the respondent’s education, social skills, and other behaviors;
  • The type and scope of the guardianship that the doctor recommends;
  • The doctor’s recommendation for the respondent’s future living arrangements.  

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.  

Where to File an Illinois Adult Guardianship Petition

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.

How to Prepare a Summons for an Adult Guardianship Petition in Illinois

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. 

How to File a Petition for Adult Guardianship in Illinois
Author

Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty

Kevin O’Flaherty is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has experience in litigation, estate planning, bankruptcy, real estate, and comprehensive business representation.

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