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Emergency Guardianship of an Adult

Posted on October 30, 2023 in Guardianship

DuPage County family lawyerAdult guardianship is a legal arrangement where a court appoints one person to make important decisions on either the health and well-being of an individual, their finances, or their estate. This individual will have to be 18 years of age or older and incapable of managing their own life and assets effectively.

As the process for guardianship can take many months, it is not uncommon for a court to grant temporary emergency guardianship to an individual while waiting for an official guardian to be appointed. This provides that individual with immediate protection in the case of threats or other emergencies. An attorney well-versed in Illinois guardian law can better help you navigate the entire process while answering any legal questions you may have.

Why File for an Emergency Guardianship?

Persons with disabilities or impairments who may be incapable of protecting themselves from harm or threats may require guardianship. Emergency guardianship is for those individuals who have a reasonable expectation that while waiting for a full-time appointed guardian, harm could come to them or their estate. So, to safeguard these adults from that harm, an emergency guardianship may be required.


IL family lawyerThere are many disabled adults who are completely independent and living productive and normal lives. However, other adults with certain disabilities may not be able to manage their affairs on their own and could benefit from having a legal guardian. A legal guardian for an adult is a fiduciary tasked with managing a disabled person’s finances and other aspects of their life to ensure that the ward is safe and well-cared for. If you have a disabled loved one you are concerned about, such as an elderly parent or disabled child who is turning 18 years old, you may be able to help them by petitioning the court to name you as their legal guardian. To begin a guardianship, you must be able to show that the proposed ward has disabilities that prevent them from managing their own life. If you are considering becoming a guardian for a loved one, an attorney may be able to help you through the process.

Who Can Be Placed Under Guardianship in Illinois?

Not all disabilities render a person eligible to be placed under guardianship, as many people with disabilities are entirely capable of being independent. Others, however, could be in danger if they do not have a guardian protecting them. For the purposes of Illinois guardianship, there are generally three reasons a person can be placed under guardianship:

  • Mental or physical incapacity - Someone with a mental or physical disability that prevents a person from capably managing their own personal life or property may be given a guardian.
  • Mental illness or developmental disability - Severe mental illness, like a psychotic disorder, can keep a person from handling their own affairs. The same may be true for significant developmental disabilities, like Down’s Syndrome.
  • Addiction issues - A person who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, or gambling, may spend money in such a way as to inflict hardship or suffering on themselves and their family. In this case, guardianship may be in order. Guardianship may not be permanent if the person receives treatment and reaches a point where they are capable of reentering society as an independent adult.

If your loved one is struggling with one of these issues and cannot manage their own life or estate, you may be able to become their legal guardian.


shutterstock_1921584095-min.jpgWhen an adult in Illinois is sufficiently disabled such that he or she is unable to make or communicate decisions about their care, living arrangements, and finances, legal guardianship may be necessary. Illinois law provides legal protection for its adult disabled citizens and Illinois has one of the most progressive guardianship laws in the US, with helpful procedures for appointing guardians and detailing the responsibilities of guardianship. 

Serving as a guardian for a disabled adult is a major responsibility. If you are considering becoming a guardian, it is important to understand what you can expect and what will be expected of you. 

Types of Guardianships

There are two basic types of guardianships in Illinois: Guardianship of the estate and guardianship of the person. Although these can be broken down into more specific categories, these two basic types offer a helpful umbrella for understanding the different responsibilities contained within each role.


dupage county guardianship lawyerUnder the law, adults who are at least 18 years old are presumed to be able to care for themselves and meet their own needs. However, there are some cases where a person may need help from a family member or friend. Those who have physical or mental disabilities may not have the means to support themselves once they turn 18, or elderly people may lose the ability to care for themselves if their health deteriorates. In these cases, another person may be appointed as the disabled person’s legal guardian. Those who are in these types of situations will want to understand the different types of guardianship available in Illinois.

Options for Guardianship

Two main types of guardianship determine the responsibilities a legal guardian will have in certain areas of the ward’s life (the person being cared for). A person appointed as a guardian of the person will provide personal care for the ward, ensuring that they have a place to live and receive the proper nutrition and medical care while also attending to their everyday needs. A person or organization that is appointed as a guardian of the estate will have the responsibility to manage the ward’s property and financial affairs.

For each of the main types of guardianship, a specific form of guardianship will apply depending on the amount of assistance the ward will need and the amount of time a person will serve as their guardian. Depending on the circumstances, a person may be appointed in a:


Can I Become My Sibling’s Legal Guardian in Illinois?Unfortunately, not all children have two parents who love and properly care for them. Some children must endure the tragedy of losing one or both parents at a young age, while others have their parents stripped from them as decided by the court system. In most cases, these difficult decisions being made by the court are in the best interests of the child, even if the child is too young to see it that way. If family members are unable to care for the adolescent, they will be entered into the foster care system to be taken care of by volunteer foster families. However, for those who have siblings age 18 or older, they may have an alternative option: legal guardianship.

What Is Legal Guardianship?

Many children who are on the brink of joining the foster care system have spent much of their lives caring for themselves or have been lucky enough to have an older sibling who has taken on a parental role in their lives. However, without legal guardianship rights, the child will not be able to remain in their care. Illinois law allows all adolescents to have at least one legal guardian, and in the absence of their parents, a close family member may take on this role. Children over the age of 14 can grant consent to guardianship requests, but those under this age must rely on the court’s decision. In Illinois, anyone who is age 18 or older, is of “sound mind,” has not been convicted of a serious crime, and is deemed acceptable by the court can apply to be the person’s guardian. The qualifications may seem somewhat minor, but the court’s impression of the guardianship applicant can make or break your case.

What Does the Court Look For?

As is the case with all Illinois legal proceedings involving children, the court’s main purpose is to make a decision in the best interests of the child. There are a few considerations that the court will keep in mind when hearing a guardianship case:

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