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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we answer the question, “what notice is required in adult guardianship proceedings?”  We also answer the following: “who is entitled to notice of a guardianship proceeding in Illinois?” and “what type of summons is required in an Illinois guardianship proceeding?” Finally, we explain how to serve summons in an Illinois guardianship case.

In order to be appointed as guardian over a disabled adult, the person seeking appointed as guardian (or some other individual) must file a petition for guardianship with the appropriate court.  To learn more about where to file the petition, check out our article explaining guardianship jurisdiction and venue.

When the petitioner files the petition, the clerk of court will set a date, time and location for the guardianship hearing.  According to Illinois statute, the guardianship hearing must be scheduled for no later than 30 days after the date the petition is filed.  To learn more about guardianship proceedings generally, check out our article: Illinois Adult Guardianship Hearings Explained.  

In order for the hearing to be held, the petitioner must prove that the petitioner provided proper notice of the hearing to all parties who are entitled to notice.

Who is Entitled to Notice of a Guardianship Proceeding in Illinois?

The allegedly disabled adult must be personally served with a summons and a copy of the petition.  In addition, the following individuals must be mailed a notice of motion at their last known address:

  • Known relatives of the disabled adult;
  • Any previously appointed guardians; and
  • Any agents for the disabled adult acting under powers of attorney.

The notice of motion should include the date, time and location of the guardianship hearing as well as a copy of the petition.

What Type of Summons is Required in an Illinois Guardianship Proceeding?  

The summons is a document that includes the date, time, and location the guardianship hearing.  It is filed with and file-stamped by the judge.  Many circuit courts have specific guardianship summons forms.  In addition to the information about when and where to appear at the hearing, guardianship summonses must include a statutorily-described statement of the respondent’s rights. To learn more about these rights, check out our article: Rights of a Disabled Adult in an Illinois Guardianship Proceeding.

How to Serve the Disabled Adult With Summons in an Illinois Guardianship Case

The disabled adult must be personally served with summons and a copy of the guardianship petition at least 14 days prior to the date of the guardianship hearing.  Unlike other types of litigation, substitute service (e.g. serving a caretaker or another adult living with the disabled adult) is not acceptable.  

The first step is usually to deliver file-stamped copies of the summons and petition to the sheriff of the county in which the disabled adult resides along with a small fee for service.  You should contact the sheriff’s office ahead of time to determine how many copies of each document are required.  

If the sheriff is unsuccessful in achieving service of process, the next step is to hire a special process server.  A special process server is essentially a private detective who professionally locates respondents and serves process.

Alternatively, summons may be served by certified mail return receipt requested.  

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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