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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will explain the different ways that guardianship can end in Illinois. Since guardianship is a court-appointed order, only an order from a court can end or modify an existing guardianship. However, there are instances when guardianship may end without court involvement. We will explain what happens if a guardian dies, what happens to guardianship if the ward dies, what happens if a guardian resigns, “when does guardianship of a minor end?”, and “how can guardianship of an incapacitated adult end?

What Happens if a Guardian Dies?

The death of either the guardian or the ward can bring an immediate end to guardianship. In the case of the guardian’s death, a Petition for Successor Guardianship is required to ask the court to appoint a new guardian for the ward, if necessary. An emergency guardianship may also be initiated during this time to ensure the ward, whether minor or adult, receives the proper care between the time that the original guardian dies and when a new permanent guardian is appointed.

What Happens to a Guardianship if the Ward Dies?

If the ward dies, the guardian’s responsibilities immediately terminate. The guardian might not make any further expenditures from the ward’s assets if that was part of the guardian’s role as appointed by the court. The family typically handles manners such as funeral arrangements. They are not considered a guardian’s responsibility upon the ward’s death.

What Happens if a Guardian Resigns?

If a guardian becomes incapable or is no longer willing to perform their duties as a guardian, they may ask the court’s permission to step down. A court hearing will be scheduled for the guardian’s resignation, and a notice of time, place, and date must be sent to those notified when the guardianship was first appointed. Upon a guardian’s resignation, a successor guardian will be appointed to assume the ward’s decision-making and other care responsibilities.

‍When Does a Guardianship End in Illinois?

When Does Guardianship of a Minor End?

A guardianship of a minor comes to an end when the child becomes of legal age (18). As mentioned earlier, the death of the minor can also cause an end to the guardianship. In some instances, a judge may determine that guardianship of the minor is no longer necessary, thus ending the guardianship.

The parents of the minor have the right to petition the court to have the guardianship of their child terminated. This is called a Petition to Discharge. The parent(s) must provide sufficient evidence that they can provide the necessary care for the child. For more on the Petition to Discharge, check out our article, “Can the Guardianship Arrangement Be Challenged?

How Can Guardianship of an Incapacitated Adult End?

The guardianship of an incapacitated adult can come to an end in three primary ways: the death of the ward or guardian, the resignation of the guardian, or the restoration of the ward’s rights, meaning the ward has overcome the disability that required guardianship and is now capable of providing their own care.

Restoring a ward’s rights is accomplished through a process similar to the appointment of the guardian. The person seeking to restore the ward’s rights must file a petition with the court with jurisdiction over the guardianship, provide notice to the appropriate parties, and then present evidence at a court hearing to demonstrate that the court-appointed guardianship should be terminated. Our article, “Can the Guardianship Arrangement Be Challenged?” discusses this process more in-depth.

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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