Illinois guardianship estates for minor children

minor's guardian estate Illinois lawyerMINOR’S GUARDIANSHIP LAW PRIMER

In the event that a child under the age of eighteen needs someone named to have legal custody of the minor, someone to control the minor’s assets, or both, it may be necessary to establish a guardianship.

The Illinois Probate Act defines a “Guardian” as follows:

Guardian’ includes a representative of a minor and a representative of a person under legal disability. 755 ILCS 5/1-2.08.

The Illinois Probate Act governs guardianships in the State of Illinois. A Guardianship has two separate and distinct forms in Illinois. The Probate Act provides for guardians for disabled adults and guardians for minors. In addition, regardless of the ward’s status as a minor or a disabled person, a guardian may act in representative capacity over a “person”, over the person’s “estate” or both.

Guardianship For Minors

Because a minor does not have the same legal rights as an adult, the Illinois Probate Act provides a process for a person to gain custody and control of a child or to act on behalf of a child with respect to the child’s assets.  Upon petition to a probate court, a judge can declare some person to be a representative for a minor child.  The guardian, as stated above, can be of the person, the person’s estate, or can be a “plenary” guardian, that is, the guardian of both the person and the estate.

Who Can Act As Guardian

A guardian may be a person, a public agency or not for profit corporation or any corporation qualified to accept and execute trusts in Illinois. A qualified corporation may only be guardian of an estate, while a person or a public agency or not for profit corporation may act as guardian of both the person or estate of the disabled person. Further, the same entity does not have to act as guardian of both the person and the estate. For example, a bank could be made guardian of a disabled person’s estate while the disabled person’s sister could be the guardian of the person.

Court Proceedings

The process for appointing a guardian requires that certain interested persons, usually parents, children and siblings and the person who is to be the guardian’s ward receive notice of the proceedings. Depending upon the reason for the guardianship, a report from a doctor or qualified professional detailing the person’s disability and need for a guardian should be obtained and presented to the court. The court may also appoint a guardian ad litem or “GAL” to investigate and review the case and present a report to the court recommending whether or not a guardianship is warranted.

Upon appointment of a guardian of an estate, depending upon the nature and extent of the assets in the guardian estate, the court may require inventories, budgets and accountings for the financial estate of the ward. In all types of guardianships, the process does not end with the appointment of the guardian.  The court is closely linked with the case and retains some control over the guardianship situation.

Services and Fees

We represent guardians in guardianship proceedings, from the preparation and filing of the petition for guardianship with the Clerk of the Court to the final order of the Court closing the guardian estate and, if necessary, all of the accountings, reports, budgets and special requests in between.  We handle most of our cases in Cook County, Lake County and DuPage County.

Guardianship Services: Hourly attorneys fees range from $270-$300 per hour plus costs.

How To Get Started

The first step to the guardianship process is to speak with an attorney about the basis for the guardianship, a doctor’s report, and the process of petitioning the court.  We are often willing to have a short (5 minutes) initial discussion over the telephone to determine if we can assist in your situation and to determine if we might be an appropriate match to work with you.

Face to face Initial consultations are by appointment only and a consultation fee is generally charged.

To get this process started, please feel free to contact Richard Magnone or John Ciprian via email or by phone at 773-399-1122.