In Illinois, there are two basic types of guardianships: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. A judge will appoint a guardian of the person to care for and protect the disabled person’s personal needs, such as medical decisions and day-to-day personal decisions. A judge will also appoint a guardian of the estate to care for and protect the disabled person’s financial needs, such as managing the personal finances. Typically, the same person will serve as the guardian of the person and the estate.
In order to avoid the guardianship process, an individual can include a Power of Attorney for Health Care and Property in his/her estate plan. The Power of Attorney for Health Care grants the named Agent similar powers to the guardian of the person, and the Power of Attorney for Property grants the named Agent similar powers to the guardian of the estate. Thus, durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Property are important documents in a complete estate plan. However, in the absence of Powers of Attorney, the guardianship process is the necessary default system for protecting mentally disabled adults in Illinois.
Guardianships, even if uncontested, can be a lengthy process which includes getting a report from the primary care physician, the appointment of a guardian ad litem by the court to protect the disabled adult during the proceedings, filing of a proper accounting and continued annual reports to the court. Ozark Law Firm, LLC can assist you in this process.