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Guardianship in Illinois: Does My Loved One Need Protection?

Posted on in Family Law

Orland Park guardianship attorneyHaving to make the decision to take away your loved one’s legal freedom for their own protection is a difficult task, even if you know it is the right thing to do. A guardian is a person or institution designated by the court to handle the affairs of another person, known as the ward. This can include choices regarding his or her physical, medical, and financial needs. It may seem unfair and uncomfortable to manage your loved one’s affairs; however, this is often the cycle of life as people age or as children lose their parents. Making the decision to establish guardianship can seem overwhelming for those who have little experience in the legal field. Below is a list of common questions to ensure that you have the answers you are looking for before making any life-changing decisions.

What Are the Different Types of Guardianship?

There are two basic types of guardianship to ensure that a person’s individual needs are met. Guardianship of a person is established when an individual is unable to make or communicate decisions for his or her personal care. This is typically associated with medical needs as a person gets older. If the ward is unable to make responsible decisions regarding medical services, social services, living situations, or other personal needs, a guardian may be named to assist with this process.

Estate guardianships focus on the financial needs of the ward. If a person has difficulties making or communicating decisions about financial affairs, a legal guardian will assist him or her to ensure that his or her legacy does not get lost along the way.

How Does the State Determine a Need for Guardianship?

Many incorrectly believe that a mental disability automatically dictates that a person is incapable of independent decision-making. However, Illinois does not allow a disability to be the determining factor for guardianship cases. In order to avoid taking away individuals’ legal freedoms unnecessarily, the state has required those who may need a guardian to complete a clinical evaluation and report before losing their legal rights. This “test” does not deem their decisions as right or wrong, but rather looks at their ability to participate in the decision-making process.

Can I Be Someone’s Guardian?

Becoming a guardian involves taking on a lot of responsibility. Before assessing your personal ability to take care of another person, it is important to see if you qualify under Illinois law. Anyone who is at least 18 years old, has not been convicted of a serious crime, is of sound mind, and is deemed acceptable by the court can be named a guardian. In some cases, an agency or company can serve as the individual’s guardian, as long as they do not provide the individual with his or her place of residence. Banks can also be named as a person’s guardian of the estate, but not as his or her personal guardian.

How Long Does the Guardianship Process Take?

As is the case with all legal proceedings, the time it takes for the approval of guardianship cases is dependent on the availability of the judge and the time it takes to prepare for the case. There is no way to predict this waiting period; however, once the case is filed, most people have their decision within two months. For those who believe that an individual needs a guardian immediately, it is possible to have a temporary guardianship established for the time being. This temporary order can last up to 60 days.

Contact an Orland Park Family Law Attorney

Guardianship is a serious matter that should be carefully considered. What many people fear is that they are making a hasty decision. The best way to combat this is to seek a second opinion on the matter from an attorney with extensive experience with guardianships. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our accomplished lawyers have assisted with numerous guardianship cases, and we know the telltale signs of a person in need of assistance. We will work tirelessly to make sure your loved one’s needs are a top priority. If you are considering becoming a legal guardian, contact our Orland Park guardianship lawyers at 708-226-9904 for an consultation.






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