How to File for Guardianship of a Disabled Adult in Illinois

How to File for Guardianship of a Disabled Adult in Illinois

Video by Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
December 18, 2019

In this article, we answer, “how to file for guardianship of a disabled adult in Illinois.” We address:

  • What is guardianship in Illinois?
  • Types of guardianship in Illinois
  • Who may serve as a guardian in Illinois?
  • How to file for guardianship of a disabled adult in Illinois
  • Does a guardian have to report to the court in Illinois?
  • Can more than one guardian be appointed in Illinois?

What Is Guardianship in Illinois?

In Illinois, 18 is the legal age of majority. This means that parents can no longer legally make decisions on behalf of their child, including those with developmental disabilities. In situations where the adult child’s disability interferes with their ability to properly represent themselves, a guardianship may be desired by the family. Establishing guardianship is a legal process designed to protect a disabled adult.

Types of Guardianship in Illinois

There are two main types of guardianship in Illinois:

  • General guardianship, also known as plenary guardianship, is appropriate for those found incapable of expressing or making decisions.
  • Limited guardianship is appropriate for those who have been found capable of expressing and making some decisions, but not all. In a limited guardianship, a guardian assists with residential, medical, legal, educational, financial, and vocational decisions.

Who May Serve as a Guardian in Illinois?

To serve as a guardian in Illinois, a person must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • A resident of the United States
  • Of sound mind
  • Without a disability
  • Without a record including a felony conviction involving sexual offense, threat, or harm to a disabled, elderly, or minor person

In some situations, a public agency or not-for-profit corporation can be found capable of providing care and support by the court.

How to File for Guardianship of a Disabled Adult in Illinois

There are three steps to filing for guardianship of a disabled adult in Illinois.

Step 1: Several court forms need to be filled out to begin the guardianship process. These include the following:

  • Petition for Appointment for Guardian for Disabled Person:  This is the form that initiates the guardianship case.  In it, you will set forth details about the disabled adult and the reason that a guardianship is necessary. 
  • Exhibit A to the Petition: This attachment to the petition lists all of the disabled adults relatives who are entitled to notice of the guardianship proceeding. 
  • Summons: This document will state the date, time and location of the hearing date.  It must be personally served by sheriff or special process server upon the disabled adult in order to inform him or her that the guardianship proceeding has been initiated.
  • Notice of Petition to Disabled Adult’s Relatives: This notice must be sent to all of the relatives of the disabled adult listed on Exhibit A to the petition in order to notify them that the guardianship case has been filed. 
  • Oath and Bond of Representative: This is the oath that the guardian must sign upon appointment, swearing to act in the best interests of the disabled adult.
  • Doctor’s Report:  Generally a doctor’s report will be filed along with the petition.  The report should state that a guardianship is appropriate based on the disabled adult’s condition. 

Step 2: The forms are filed at the court and a hearing date is set.

Step 3: Other interested parties must be informed about a hopeful guardian’s petition before the hearing. This allows relatives or other interested parties to appear and participate in the court hearing as required or desired.


The judge presiding over the hearing will determine if guardianship will be granted to the petitioner.

Does a Guardian Have to Report to the Court in Illinois?

A guardian must report to the court in certain situations. These include:

  • To receive approval for the ward to move out of state
  • To inform the court they can no longer be guardian
  • To file a yearly accounting if guardian of the estate as well
  • To report death of the ward

Can More Than One Guardian Be Appointed in Illinois?

There may be only one guardian of a disabled adult in Illinois. But there may be an additional person appointed as guardian of the estate

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What Is Guardianship in Illinois?

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