When you accept responsibility for a vulnerable person’s care and life enjoyment, you also take on some legal risk. For example, making decisions that could harm the person or compromise their assets could lead to trouble.
You may not have thought much about the legal side of becoming a guardian in Illinois, but it is important to consider the risks as well as the rewards. The tips below can help you protect yourself from alleged misconduct during your service.
1. Keep the finances disentangled
Since most guardians must manage the finances of two separate households, it is easy to mingle assets. For instance, say you occasionally cover expenses for your ward out of your own pocket for convenience. Before you know it, you may lose track of these expenses and have trouble sorting them out.
Even worse, you might accidentally use some of the elder’s money for your own benefit, which could result in legal hardships. Never dip into your accounts on behalf of your ward, and don’t use their money to pay your own bills.
2. Log everything you do
You know your behavior as the guardian of an elder is above reproach, but that does not mean someone won’t accuse you of misconduct. Keep detailed notes or log entries about all your guardianship acts, even if it is just having a simple conversation with your ward.
These records may shield you from any misconduct allegations the elder’s relatives (or others) might raise against you. Your guardianship term will probably pass smoothly, but the tips discussed here can give you an extra layer of legal security.