Whether you have decision-making authority (guardianship) over a disabled family member or a close friend, you bear a great responsibility. You may feel that the person will only get fair and respectful treatment if you are in charge, but never forget that serving as a guardian comes with many challenges and potential for missteps.
Everyone who serves as a guardian should undergo specific training to help them fill their role adequately. However, since many guardianships must be created quickly, you might need to serve before you understand the role completely.
Give yourself some guidelines
Hopefully, you will take some time to learn more about guardianship under Illinois law. In the meantime, the recommendations below can potentially save you and the disabled adult under your care both trouble and anxiety.
Be careful with their money. Never use the person’s money, property or assets for your or another’s purposes. Make it a regular habit to double-check your expenditures to ensure they only benefit the person under guardianship.
Regularly spend time together. While guardianship means managing financial matters for the individual, that is not the full extent of your responsibilities. Make it a point to visit with the individual to ensure they are living in contentment.
Keep their dignity in mind. It is hard for most to understand how guardianships impact self-direction and self-esteem. To promote their independence and preserve their dignity, allow them to make noncritical decisions such as what to wear or who to spend the afternoon with.
Consider seeking legal guidance to better understand your duties and responsibilities if you have been chosen as a guardian. What you learn could protect you from legal hardships and keep the disabled individual (and their family) happy with your performance.