A legal guardian is appointed by the court to make decisions for a child or an adult who cannot care for themselves, or who does not have the capacity to manage their own affairs. A guardian can handle personal matters, such as making housing arrangements or obtaining medical treatment; financial affairs, such as collecting and investing assets; or both. A guardian can also serve as a caregiver, assisting with daily activities or providing for special needs such as dressing, eating, or bathing. If a loved one is no longer capable of making sound decisions or managing their own finances, you should consider filing a petition with the court for a legal guardianship. An experienced Chicago Guardianship Attorney can help you navigate the process.
A petition for a guardianship begins with the proposed guardian filing basic information about themselves and the person they are seeking guardianship over, called a “ward.” The ward’s age, and in some circumstances, their mental capacity, will be included in the request. A judge will then hear arguments as to why the ward requires a guardian and whether the person filing is qualified to take on this role.
If the case is contested, the judge will appoint an attorney for the alleged intestate person (AIP). This attorney will act as the AIP’s advocate in the proceedings and ensure their rights are protected. The AIP can also choose to hire their own attorney. The AIP’s social worker, a professional who knows the AIP well, will likely be involved as well. A judge will then review the case, interview witnesses, and make a decision.
Guardianships are often terminated when the ward regains sufficient capacity to care for themselves or when their condition improves and they no longer require a guardian. Guardianships may be ended by a Court order, or it can be voluntarily withdrawn.
The best way to prevent the need for a Guardianship is to create a Power of Attorney and a Living Trust before you lose capacity. A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer can assist you with these types of estate planning issues.
Being a Guardian is a huge responsibility, and should not be undertaken lightly. Guardians must comply with Court rules and procedures, file regular reports with the Court, and appear in Court as required by the Judge. If you are considering becoming a Guardian, or already have been appointed as a Guardian, the experienced guardianship lawyers at Littman Krooks can help. Our firm is dedicated to helping families and protecting the rights of children, adults, and elders. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an attorney. The initial consultation is free of charge. Call (847) 853-5400 or complete the online form to set up your appointment. Our office is located in Downtown Chicago, close to public transportation. We provide services to clients throughout the State of Illinois. This includes Cook, Lake, Kane, and Will Counties.