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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we explain emergency guardianship in Illinois, including "what is emergency guardianship?", "when is emergency guardianship necessary?" and "how to appoint an emergency guardian."

What is Emergency Guardianship? 

The guardianship process may take multiple months to be completed. An emergency guardian is sometimes necessary to protect an incapacitated adult or their estate in the interim. In the case of a guardian being needed for a disabled person, an emergency guardian, or a temporary guardian, may be appointed between the filing for guardianship and the time an official guardian is appointed. Emergency guardianship ensures that people have immediate protection when there is a potential threat or emergency. This type of guardianship is typically used to protect a person from imminent abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. The guardianship is typically only valid for 30-60 days or until a final order in the guardianship case has been entered.

When is Emergency Guardianship Necessary?

This type of guardianship is necessary when a person has a disability or impairment that would make them incapable of protecting him or herself, and there is a reasonable expectation that, in the absence of a temporary guardian, the individual would be harmed before the entry of an order appointing a permanent guardian.

Generally, in order to appoint an emergency guardian, courts require that the potential ward be incapacitated, be at risk of harm, and have no other alternatives. The main concern of the court is the well-being and safety of the ward, and an emergency guardian will be appointed if there is perceived to be an actual danger to the disabled person or the estate.

emergency guardianship in Illinois

How to Appoint an Emergency Guardian

The court will appoint an emergency guardian without having to give a ward 14-day notice when the petitioner can establish that the situation calls for immediate intervention. Immediately after being appointed, the guardian can make decisions for the ward and take action to prevent the ward from any foreseen harm. Sometimes, a person may specify in a power of attorney who they would like to act as an emergency guardian; otherwise, the court is responsible for determining who is best for the responsibility.

When a petition is filed for temporary guardianship to be allowed, the petitioner will typically have to appear in court. The rules for how a judge grants temporary guardianship vary depending on the county of residence; however, it is normal for a judge to meet with the petitioner and want a doctor’s report about the ward's state. It typically must be shown that a person’s disability or injury prevents them from protecting themselves from potential harm. A judge may immediately appoint the emergency guardian and specify that the guardian has the right to take protective measures for the ward.

Once an emergency guardian is appointed, they can immediately act in the best interest of the disabled person by initiating protective measures and protecting the person’s health, finances, and estate. The guardian will have the right to take action, per the court’s orders, until the time has expired or a new guardian is appointed, whichever comes first. For more general information on guardianship in Illinois read our article, Recent Changes to Illinois Guardianship Law 2022.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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