After hearing nightmare stories about guardianships gone wrong, most people only establish one for a loved one as a last resort. They want to help and protect their family member but without taking away their rights and dignity.
When guardianship has become the only way to safeguard someone you care about, it may be time to learn about your options. Exploring them can empower you to find an appropriate solution that does not compromise your loved one’s rights. Under Illinois law, several types of guardianship are available, each fulfilling different purposes.
What is guardianship of the person?
A person guardianship serves those who cannot make reasonable decisions or communicate them to others in matters of personal care and well-being. The designated guardian typically makes health care and personal decisions for the person under guardianship. For example, they can consent to medical treatment or decide where the person under guardianship (the ward) should reside.
What is guardianship of the estate?
An estate guardianship helps vulnerable people who need assistance making sound financial decisions, especially if they have substantial assets. On behalf of the ward and their estate, the guardian manages financial accounts and pays expenses. For example, they can invest in real estate and securities to enhance the ward’s financial holdings.
What is plenary guardianship?
Sometimes, individuals need help with both personal and financial decisions. Plenary guardianship may address such needs. However, it can severely restrict the ward since it allows a single authority to make potentially life-altering personal, medical and financial choices for another. Most families exhaust all other options before considering plenary arrangements.
While guardianships can pose risks to the ward and their estate, legal guidance may help minimize them or lead to a solution you had not previously considered.