If you were to judge guardianship based on the stories that make the news, you might think that it is an inappropriate system that allows people to financially manipulate and control others. The stories about abuses of guardianship make it seem like a way to control the person subject to guardianship.
Despite what major stories about celebrities may have made you think, adult guardianships in Illinois largely serve to protect those who are vulnerable. In fact, guardianship doesn’t even involve financial authority in every case.
What does guardianship confer to the person who becomes a guardian?
A guardian has control over someone’s daily life
Managing someone’s affairs isn’t just about balancing their checkbook and paying their bills. You also need to make sure that they go to doctor’s appointments and otherwise take proper care of themselves
When you become a guardian over an adult with compromised abilities, you take responsibility for meeting their basic needs and ensuring that they aren’t left in a dangerous situation. You will have an obligation to schedule doctor’s appointments for them and make sure that they take their medicine.
Some people may also seek a conservatorship, which gives them authority over someone’s financial assets. Dividing conservatorship and guardianship helps reduce the risk of abuse and better protect those who are already in a vulnerable situation.
Although your loved one may not relish the idea of giving you control over their medical choices and living circumstances, they may no longer be in a position to make the right decisions for themselves. Recognizing when guardianship is necessary and how it helps your loved one may motivate you to go to court and ask for the power to support them.