What is Jurisdiction in a Guardianship Proceeding?

Where to File a Guardianship Proceeding for a Disabled Adult | Which State Has Jurisdiction Over Guardianship?

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

In this article we explain where to file a guardianship proceeding, including answer the questions: “which state has jurisdiction over guardianship?” and “which county is the proper venue for Illinois guardianship proceedings?”  We also explain emergency jurisdiction in guardianship proceedings.  

For foundational information about adult guardianship, check out our article: Illinois Guardianship Explained.

What is Jurisdiction in a Guardianship Proceeding?

“Jurisdiction” in the context of a guardianship proceeding is a determination of which state has the power to issue binding orders in the proceeding.  A petitioner in a guardianship proceeding must file the case in a state that has jurisdiction over the case in order for the court to issue a binding order.  Guardianship jurisdiction is governed by the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (“the Act”), which has been adopted by Illinois.

Which State Has Jurisdiction Over a Guardianship Proceeding?

The baseline rule is that the disabled adult’s “home state” has jurisdiction over the guardianship proceeding.  The disabled adult’s home state is defined as a state in which the disabled adult was physically present for at least six consecutive months immediately prior to the filing of the guardianship proceeding.  A temporary absence counts toward this six month period.  

If the disabled adult does not have a “home state” because he or she has not lived in the same state for six consecutive months prior to filing the guardianship proceeding a state with a “significant connection” to the disabled adult may assert jurisdiction.  A significant connection state may also assert jurisdiction if the disabled adult does have a home state, but the home state has declined to exercise jurisdiction because the significant connection state is the more convenient forum for the case.  

Courts are instructed by the Act to consider the following factors when determining whether the state in which the case was filed has a significant connection to the disabled adult:

  • The location of the disabled adult’s family and other people to whom notice of the guardianship proceeding is required to be served;
  • The length of time that the disabled adult was physically present in the state in question at any time in his or her life as well as the duration of the disabled adult’s absence;
  • The location of the disabled adult’s property; and
  • The extent to which the disabled adult has ties to the state such as voting registration, tax return filing, vehicle registration, driver’s license, social relationships, and receipt of services.

 Emergency Jurisdiction in Guardianship Proceedings

Even if a state is not the “home state” of the disabled adult and is not a “significant connection state,” a state may exercise jurisdiction to appoint a guardian on an emergency basis for a term not exceeding 90 days for a disabled adult who is physically present in the state.

Which County is the Proper Venue to File an Illinois Guardianship Proceeding?

While “jurisdiction” informs the state in which you should file a guardianship proceeding, “venue” informs the appropriate county court within the state in which you should file.  If the disabled adult is a resident of Illinois, the county in which the disabled adult resides is the proper venue for a guardianship case.  If the disabled adult does not reside in Illinois, then the proper venue is the county in which the disabled adult’s real estate or personal property is located.  

Additional Financial Considerations
from Financial Experts

From Financial Experts

For many years, financial institutions have been creating a disservice to clients and the industry as a whole for years.
View More Professional Considerations

Presented By O'Flaherty Law

Which State Has Jurisdiction Over a Guardianship Proceeding?

Need Legal Help? 

Schedule a

What to Expect From a Consultation

The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.

Leave a Comment With Your Questions

Read more about

Guardianship Law

Disclaimer: Our articles and comment responses do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.

Please contact us to schedule a free consultation for legal advice specific to your situation.

Here are some articles that may interest you

Contact us for a Free Consultation

Schedule a free consultation

O'Flaherty Law is happy to meet with you by phone or at our office locations in:

Who We Are
We are your community law firm. Our Illinois & Iowa Attorneys are committed to providing exceptional client service in a cost-effective manner in the areas of Family Law, Probate, Estate Planning, Civil Litigation, Guardianship, Criminal Defense, Corporate & Contract Law, Bankruptcy and Real Estate.

Some of Our Accomplishments

Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago
DuPage County Probate Attorney
Kevin P. O'Flaherty
Rated by Super Lawyers

loading ...
Naperville attorney
DuPage County Probate Attorney

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required