Ideally, everyone would make advance arrangements for implementation of a care plan for themselves if they became unable to take care of themselves. Powers of Attorney for Health Care and for Property (POA’s For Health and/or Property) afford a method for each of us to make such arrangements. Unfortunately, many people do not avail themselves of the opportunity POA’s for Health and/or Property provide. Other individuals, due to chronic conditions, may have never had the ability to create Health and/or Property POA’s. When a disabling condition occurs, and no plan for personal or financial decision making has been made, then a Guardianship proceeding may be the only alternative.

Information on Guardianship

In Illinois Guardianship matters are governed by the provisions of 755 ILCS 5/11a-1 through 5/11a-23 of the Illinois Probate Act.Generally, persons who have reached their eighteenth birthday are presumed to be capable of making their own decisions and accepting responsibility for the outcome of their decisions. Not everyone has the ability to make their own decisions.

The Probate Act of 1975 defines a “disabled person” as follows: “Disabled person” means a person 18 years or older who (a) because of mental deterioration or physical incapacity is not fully able to manage his person or estate, or (b) is a person with mental illness or a person with a developmental disability and who because of his mental illness or developmental disability is not fully able to manage his person or estate, or (c) because of gambling, idleness, debauchery or excessive use of intoxicants or drugs, so spends or wastes his estate as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering. 755 ILCS 5/11a-2.

The process of having a guardian appointed for a disabled person begins with the filing of a petition asking that the Court find that an individual is disabled; stating the underlying reason for the disability, whether illness, injury, or other; stating if the individual requires a guardian for making personal decisions, managing his or her assets and estate, or both; and the nature of the relationship between the person filing the petition and/or the person who is nominated to act as guardian and the alleged disabled person.

Click here to download a detailed document on the guardianship process.