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Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park adult guardianship lawyerObtaining guardianship over an adult can be a sensitive topic in many situations. When you ask a court for guardianship over a person, you are essentially asking them to grant you decision-making authority over important aspects of that person’s life. Sometimes, guardianship authority will be limited to certain purposes, such as managing a person’s financial affairs. However, other times, guardianship authority will include decision-making power in nearly all areas, especially when an individual is incapacitated to the point where they are not able to make decisions about their own affairs.

Common Situations that Warrant Guardianship

There are various reasons why a person might have a guardian appointed for them. According to Illinois law, an adult can only have a guardian appointed to manage their affairs if they are disabled and unable to “make or communicate responsible decisions” about their personal affairs. In Illinois, guardians can be appointed in cases of mental or physical disability, as well as in cases of gambling or addiction which prevent a person from effectively managing their affairs.

Making the decision to appoint a guardian for someone can be difficult. The person who needs help may feel as if their rights and freedoms are being taken away, even if you are only trying to help. It is common for people to be unsure if guardianship is the right choice for their situation. Here are some of the most common situations that warrant establishing guardianship:

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Hillside guardianship attorneyEvery child deserves to live in a loving household, with the ideal goal being two loving parents who can care for them. In today’s world, however, this is not always the case. Some families have single parents, others have blended households, and some children lose their parents at a young age. If a child’s parents die unexpectedly, and a Will that outlines those parents’ wishes was not  prepared,,  a  court will need to determine what the next best course of action will be regarding who will take care of the child. Throughout the U.S., anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor and must have a legal guardian caring for them. For some children, this  could require another family member taking care of them , while for other children, foster care may be their only option. 

Determining Legal Guardianship

Older children who have a younger sibling will often seek to become their legal guardian and thereby keep their brother or sister outside of the foster care system. While this is an admirable goal, it is not always feasible, and it is ultimately up to a  court to make this decision. It may seem like the obvious choice to keep siblings together, but there are a number of circumstances that must be considered before the court will allow this arrangement to become legally enforceable. According to Illinois law, a legal guardian must meet the following criteria:

  • At least 18 years of age;

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Hillside guardianship attorneyTaking on the responsibility of becoming another person’s legal guardian is laudable, but it can also be very difficult. This is especially true for children who are becoming their parents’ legal guardian. Having to take on the role of caregiver to your own parent can be physically and emotionally taxing, and some people may not even know if their parents meet the criteria for needing a legal guardian. Before taking legal action on behalf of your loved one, review your ability to become a legal guardian, as well as the common signs that show they need this additional support.

Who Can Be a Guardian?

When petitioning to become a legal guardian, there are a few minimum requirements that you must meet, before a judge can even determine if you are the right person to fulfill this role. Under Illinois law, legal guardians must: be at least 18 years of age, be of “sound mind,” have never been convicted of a serious crime, and be deemed a suitable guardian by the court. In addition, those who wish to become a legal guardian must demonstrate their ability to provide a suitable plan in their role as guardian. 

Is My Loved One in Need of a Guardian?

Most adult children can recognize the signs that their parents need additional assistance in one form or another. This may be physical help, financial guidance, or just assistance in making decisions in general. The state of Illinois provides a list of questions to consider for those who think that their loved one may be on the path towards needing guardianship; if you are in this situation, consider the following questions before seeking legal help to secure guardianship:

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Oak Park, IL legal guardianship attorneySeeing your parents age and develop limitations which make it seem like they may be incapable of fully caring for themselves can be a difficult stage to reach as a child. Maybe you have children of your own, or perhaps you live far away from your parents, making it difficult to care for them or to determine if legal action should be taken to protect them. For adults who become incapable of living on their own and making well-reasoned decisions, the need for guardianship often becomes a reality. Before taking action and deciding that guardianship is the correct path for your family member, it is important to recognize the signs of a loved one in need of help, and to fully understand what legal guardianship involves.

Assessing Your Loved One’s Needs

Illinois law states that anyone age 18 or older is assumed to be capable of handling their own affairs, recognizing them as legal adults. However, certain circumstances can cause a person to become incapable of making their own decisions. A legal guardian may be appointed if a person is disabled because of mental deterioration, mental illness, physical incapacity, and/or developmental disabilities. The purpose of a guardian is to help the individual make decisions, knowing that a sound mind is behind the decisions being made.

A person having a mental disability does not always mean that a legal guardian is necessary. If the individual is still capable of making decisions and communicating their decisions, they likely do not need a guardian. However, this statement can leave some gray area needing to be interpreted. A person making a decision that their loved ones do not agree with, as opposed to being unable to make a decision, are two very different things. If you are unsure of whether or not your loved one really needs a guardian, the following four questions can help you determine their level of need:

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Hillside, IL legal guardianship attorneyThe day that a child must become a parental figure for their own parent is not a day that anyone looks forward to. While you may not be parenting in the sense of teaching them right from wrong or watching them grow up, you may reach a time in which you need to step in because your parents or other loved ones are unfit to take care of their own affairs. Becoming your parent’s legal guardian can be a difficult task, but it may be necessary in some situations. In some cases, a legal guardian may also need to be named for a disabled person, and this kind of guardian does not have to be related to the disabled person to be named as their guardian. 

It is important to understand what this new role of being a guardian entails. There are a number of different types of guardianships, each of which allots different responsibilities to the guardian. The person a guardian provides care for is known as a ward. Depending on the level of competency of the ward, as well as their needs, the duties and responsibilities of a guardian may vary. The following are the common types of guardianships granted in Illinois:

Full Responsibility or Limited Power?

  1. Plenary Guardianship: This is the general name for a guardianship. These guardians have the most responsibility, and they may manage not only the ward’s estate, but also their physical needs. These individuals are granted all of the possible powers and duties by the court.
  2. Limited Guardianship: These guardians do not have as much control over the ward’s affairs. For those granted a limited guardianship, the court will decide what powers the guardian has, depending on the ward’s needs and ability to care for themselves. This is done to ensure that the guardian is not given power over the ward in areas that are not necessary.
  3. Temporary Guardianship: Not every ward needs a guardian indefinitely. In many situations, an individual may only need assistance because of an emergency but is otherwise capable of handling themselves. Typically, temporary guardians are put in place if the ward’s previous guardian has died, or if the court has yet to appoint a guardian but has reason to believe that the individual needs one for their immediate protection. Temporary guardianships can last up to 60 days, but such guardianships may be extended beyond that if necessary. 

What Responsibilities Will a Guardian Have?

  1. Guardianship of the Estate: This means that the guardian would be in charge of the ward’s legal and financial affairs. This includes managing all of their finances, properties, and assets.
  2. Guardianship of the Person: These types of guardianships are for persons who are incapable of physically taking care of themselves. These guardians will make decisions regarding the ward’s physical care. This can include making healthcare decisions and choosing where they will be living based on their physical needs.

Call an Oak Park Family Law Attorney

As explained above, there are a number of different types of guardianships, and it can be difficult to determine the level of care and attention that your loved one needs. This can be an emotional decision to make, and it can significantly alter the everyday life of both the guardian and the ward. The Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. works to help all of our clients protect their loved ones or be protected themselves. Whether you are the one in need of a guardian, or you seek to be the guardian for a loved one, our guardianship attorney, who has been skillfully handling guardianship matters for over 32 years, can assist you in establishing a guardianship arrangement that meets your needs. Contact our Hillside guardianship lawyer at 708-449-7404 for a free consultation.

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