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.”
The guardianship process may take multiple months to be completed. An emergency guardian is sometimes necessary to protect an incapacitated adult or his or her 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. The emergency guardianship is intended to ensure 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 any 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.
This type of guardianship is necessary when a person has a disability or impairment that would make him or her 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 wellbeing and safety of the ward, and an emergency guardian will be appointed if there is perceived to be actual danger to the disabled person or the estate.
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 is able to make decisions for the ward and can take actions to prevent the ward from any foreseen harm. In some cases, a person may specify in a power of attorney who he or she 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 to want a doctor’s report about the state of the ward. It typically must be shown that a person’s disability or injury renders them unable to protect themselves from potential harm. A judge may immediately appoint the emergency guardian, and should specify that the guardian has the right to take protective measures for the ward.
Once an emergency guardian is appointed, he or she is able to 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.