Lawyers In DuPage County Protecting Individuals With Disabilities
At some point in our lives, nearly every one of us will need another person’s help in managing a difficult situation. For most people, the need for help will be temporary, such as while recovering from surgery, an illness or injury. For others, however, their need will be far more serious and last for far longer – potentially for the rest of their lives. Physical impairments, cognitive disabilities, and the realities of getting older can all force a person to rely on others for assistance. Depending on the severity of the problems, the person might even have trouble managing his or her everyday affairs and activities. At SBK Law Group, in Downers Grove, Ilinois, our experienced attorneys understand the challenges that many adults with disabilities encounter. We also recognize the importance of getting such individuals the help they need. If there is a disabled adult in your life who needs regular help managing their affairs, our team will work with you in deciding if pursuing guardianship of that person would serve the best interests of everyone involved.
Understanding Guardianship Laws In Illinois
The Illinois Probate Act of 1975 (755 ILCS 5) governs adult guardianship proceedings in the state. Under the Probate Act, only the court can appoint a guardian for an adult, and the court can only appoint a guardian if it finds that the adult requires a guardian due to a qualifying disability. The law goes on to define a qualifying disability to mean a physical, mental, emotional, or other condition that limits or prevents the person in question from making responsible and competent decisions about his or her affairs. The court may also find that a person is disabled if the condition prevents the person from communicating with others about his or her decisions. A finding of disability could be entered by the court based on:
- Physical conditions, including injuries, degenerative disease, or problems that inhibit speech
- Diagnosed mental illness and psychological disorders
- Developmental disorders
- Cognitive impairments, including issues related to dementia and age-related conditions
It is important to remember that qualifying disabilities may be caused by a specific event, including an acquired illness or an accident, or they can develop gradually, such as those related to degenerative diseases.
The Role Of A Guardian
If you wish to become the guardian of your loved one, you can petition the court to recognize you as such. However, the court has the discretion to determine how much assistance your loved one needs, as well as the type of assistance that is required. Illinois law recognizes two primary areas of responsibilities for guardians. You could be appointed “guardian of the estate” for your loved one, which gives you the authority to help with his or her finances, such as managing a home and paying bills. You could also be named as your loved one’s “guardian of the person.” In this role, you would help your loved one with medical and health-related concerns. This could include applying for benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare, as well. It is possible for you to be appointed by the court to help your loved one in both capacities or just one, with another person selected to serve in the other role. The court also has the power to limit your decision-making authority in other ways, as well. For example, if you are the guardian of the estate for your loved one, the court might allow you to help with everyday financial matters, such as paying utility bills and making necessary purchases but prohibit you from making decisions about long-term or complex financial investments on behalf of your loved. In cases where the person needs a substantial amount of assistance, however, the court could grant you nearly unlimited power to make decisions indefinitely for him or her.
Call 630-427-4407 For A Free Consultation
To learn more about petitioning the court for guardianship of a disabled adult in Illinois, contact our office. Call 630-427-4407 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation at SBK Law Group today. Our attorneys serve individuals and families in Downers Grove, Naperville, Wheaton, DuPage County, Will County, Cook County, and the surrounding areas.