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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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