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What Are the Types of Guardians for Disabled Persons?

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Aug. 16, 2019

In some cases, a child who is ready to turn eighteen years old suffers from a disability and cannot assume the normal responsibilities of adulthood, such as making decisions regarding self-care or finances. People in this situation require someone to care for them, which is why Illinois law permits adult guardianships for disabled persons. According to state law, these guardianships can take a number of different forms.

Guardianships fall under two common types, a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate. A guardian of the person will take over personal care decisions, such as medical care or where the disabled person will live. A guardian of the estate handles the finances or other choices regarding a disabled person’s estate. Depending on the needs of the adult, only one type of guardian may be needed, or perhaps both.

While some guardianships have wide-ranging powers, Illinois courts do try to tailor guardianships so that a disabled person retains as much of his or her rights as possible. Instead of a guardian with broad sweeping power, a parent or relative can seek a limited guardian for an impaired loved one. The court will consider the capabilities of the person who needs a guardian and define only specific rights for the limited guardian to take over.

In some instances, a disabled person may be in danger and require immediate guardianship. Illinois law allows courts to appoint a temporary guardian to care for a disabled person while a guardianship petition is being decided. An emergency cannot be used to impose an ongoing guardianship; temporary guardianships do not last longer than sixty days and can only be used if imminent harm or an emergency is present.

You may have questions about whether an Illinois guardianship is right for your loved one, which an experienced family law attorney can assist you with. The needs of Illinois families will vary, so only read this article as information and not as actionable legal advice for your situation.