If your mom or dad is getting up there in age, dealing with illness, disability or simply struggling to care for or make sound decisions for him- or herself, you have every right to be concerned about his or her welfare. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make sure your parents get the care and protection they need. In Illinois, one way you can ensure appropriate care for your parent and protection of their assets is by seeking a guardianship.
There are two types of guardianships available in Illinois — person and estate. Guardianship of the person gives the guardian rights to care for and make medical and other personal care decisions for the ward. Guardianship of the estate, on the other hand, allows the representative to handle the ward’s finances.
Who can seek guardianship?
According to state laws, anyone over the age of 18 who does not have a criminal record can seek guardianship of an elderly/disabled person. Typically, it is family members who choose to do this; however, being related to the individual you are wanting to seek a guardianship for is certainly not a requirement.
How to seek guardianship
Seeking guardianship is a multi-step process. It involves:
- Having the respondent evaluated
- Filing the appropriate paperwork
- Attending court hearings
- Paying any required fees
The first hearing will occur within 30 days of filing the petition. Legal counsel can be present at the hearing if you desire.
What are a guardian’s duties?
If granted guardianship of your parent, your job is to simply ensure their best interests. You’ll have to make a lot of decisions, some tougher than others, and it does not typically prove to be an easy task. You may also have to file annual reports in court for review. Obviously, the state of Illinois does not want to see guardians taking advantage of their positions.
Where to seek help
Having legal counsel help you as you seek guardianship of an elderly parent is optional but something you may want to strongly consider. Applying for guardianship may seem simple enough, but it can be a complex process and a number of things can go wrong along the way. With the right help in your corner, you can make sure you have completed all of the necessary steps and have representation in court when the hearing rolls around.