Adult Guardianship Laws in Illinois and Indiana



Adult guardianship, also known as conservatorship, involves a judge giving a person the responsibility to make decisions regarding another person’s finances, health care, or daily life. Anybody who is involved in an adult guardianship claim in Illinois or Indiana will want to work with an experienced Illinois or Indiana guardianship lawyer who thoroughly understands all of your options.

The need for an adult guardian is not always clear-cut, so judges frequently have to wrestle with whether or not such an appointment is truly necessary. Beyond the need for appointing a guardian, the matter of who will serve as the actual guardian can also be contentious.

Adult Guardianship Laws in Illinois

The Office of State Guardian serves as the guardian only when no other person is suitable and willing to serve. Guardianship is necessary when a court determines that a person is unable to make and communicate responsible decisions regarding their personal care or finances because of a mental, physical, or developmental disability. 

The mere fact that an individual is elderly, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or physically disabled will not necessarily be enough to indicate the need for guardianship. The extent to which a guardian will be able to make decisions for a ward will be a court determination that relies on a clinical evaluation and report.

The two basic types of guardianship in Illinois are person guardianship and estate guardianship. A guardian of the person will be a court appointment when a person with a disability cannot make or communicate responsible decisions regarding their personal care, and the guardian of the person makes decisions about medical treatment, residential placement, social services, and other needs. 

The court will appoint a guardian of the estate if a person with disabilities cannot make or communicate responsible decisions regarding management of their estate or finances. The guardian of the estate will be subject to court supervision and render decisions about a ward’s funds and the protection of the ward’s income or other assets.

The Illinois Probate Act is the state law that allows courts flexibility to tailor guardianship to meet the needs and capabilities of people with disabilities. The decision-making capacity of a person with disabilities will affect how the court appoints limited guardians who may be given the power to make only the decisions about personal care and/or personal finances that a court specifies. 

A temporary guardian can also be an appointment by the court for a period between a party filing a petition for guardianship and the conclusion of a court hearing where there will be a decision regarding the need for guardianship. Temporary guardianship lasts no more than 60 days and is a means to ensure that an alleged person with disabilities receives immediate protection.

In Illinois, any person 18 years of age and older who has no convictions for serious crimes and is of sound mind may be able to serve as guardian when the court finds the person suitable. A guardian also has to be a legal resident of the United States.

Adult Guardianship Laws in Indiana

In Indiana, a guardian is the person or entity the court appoints to handle the care and supervision of a person or the property of a person with disabilities. The person with disabilities is an individual who cannot provide self-care or manage their property due to their disabilities or illness.

Without specific limitations by the court, a guardian will be responsible for providing or supervising the care of a person with disabilities and ensuring proper preservation and management of their property, finances, and assets. A guardian will also have to regularly inform the court on the status of all these matters.

Courts in Indiana must limit guardianship to encourage the self-improvement, self-reliance, and independence of the person with disabilities, so a guardianship may have limits on the time of the guardianship, the guardian’s degree of authority, and other areas of decision-making. Both the person petitioning for guardianship and the person subject to protection are allowed to seek limited guardianship.

An adult under guardianship will still retain the rights to vote, challenge or end the guardianship, request an appointment of a different guardian, and visit with friends or family. Most guardianships in Indiana remain in place for the lives of people with disabilities, but state law requires termination of a guardianship when a person with disabilities dies or the court determines they no longer have disabilities. 

Indiana recognizes that legally-recognized supports may address a person’s limitations without the need for guardianship in some cases. Such supports may include, but are not limited to:

  • Powers of Attorney (POAs)
  • Informal supports
  • Living wills and advance directives
  • Supported Decision-Making Agreements
  • Educational Surrogates
  • Authorizations to share information
  • Protective orders
  • Healthcare Representatives
  • Team-based or shared decision-making

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with an Adult Guardianship Lawyer Serving Illinois and Indiana

If you are seeking an adult guardianship in Illinois or Indiana, do not try to handle everything by yourself. You will benefit by having Spagnolo & Hoeksema, LLC, on your side because we know how to achieve the most favorable outcomes in these cases.

Our firm can work closely with you and make sure that you are able to provide the court with the necessary evidence to support your claims and grant you guardianship. Call us or contact us online right now to set up a free consultation that will allow us to take a much better look at the specifics of your case and provide solid legal advice.

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