Estate Planning: FAQs about Guardianship

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As the clock ticks on, one generation matures while the other enters the phase where it needs care. As children enter adulthood, they are faced with the responsibility to provide care for their aging parents. This shift of roles may seem natural, but it is often times difficult to deal with for many people. In such cases, legal guardianship may be necessary for your loved one so that he or she can make the financial, healthcare, and legal decisions needed for his or her well-being.

A legal guardianship has numerous responsibilities. At Jackson Abdalla, we answer many questions each day regarding legal guardianship. Here are the most frequent:

What is meant by guardianship?

A guardian is someone who has been legally appointed by the court on behalf of a person who has been declared either physically or mentally incapacitated.. Such individuals need a guardian because they have become incapable of making decisions regarding their living arrangements, finances, health, and general decisions in life; these people often need someone who has their best interests in mind.

A guardian is not only appointed for adults; a court may also appoint one for people under 18 years of age. If parents die, become too ill, or abuse their children, a guardian may be appointed to look after them. There are also cases where parents authorize guardianship voluntarily because they think it is in the best interest of their child or children.

What is a ward?

A ward is the person who requires the assistance of a guardian.

1. Limited guardianship: Guardians have limited powers as the ward is still capable of making some of the decisions on their own.

2. Temporary guardianship: Guardians are appointed for emergencies and their role is limited for a short period. It generally lasts for 60 days.

3. Standby guardianship: A court appoints a backup guardian to quickly fill in the guardianship position should a guardian decide to leave.

4. Successor guardianship: If a guardian cannot continue with his or role because of any reason, the person replacing him or her will be a successor guardian.

5. Plenary guardianship: Guardians are given the power to make decisions regarding the finances, personal care, and other life aspects of a ward.

6. Short-term guardianship: A guardian is allowed by law to name an alternate guardian to assume his or her role for a short period of time. He or she may cover temporary situations, and court approval isn’t mandatory in such a case.

The process is neither long nor drawn out, and the timeframe depends mostly upon the state. In Illinois, it typically takes approximately one month to grant permanent guardianship; this is especially the case when no other party contests the guardianship.

Consult With an Elgin Estate Planning Attorney Today

If you would like to further discuss guardianship or other estate planning matters, please call the Jackson Abdalla Law Group at (773) 550-3853. We serve clients throughout Chicagoland, including Will, Kane, DuPage, Lake counties. At Jackson Abdalla, we’re on your side. Call today for a free consultation .

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