The Essential Guide to Hiring a Guardianship Attorney

When a child or an adult is unable to make decisions about their health or finances, it is often necessary for someone else to step in and act as their legal guardian. Generally, a parent will designate their children’s future guardian in their will or other legal documents. Alternatively, a court can decide that a guardian is needed through a guardianship proceeding in Surrogate’s Court.

Guardianship is a serious responsibility and the law requires that all interested parties are represented by an attorney during the guardianship proceedings. An attorney will review state laws and procedures for the jurisdiction(s) where the potential ward lives and where the guardianship is sought. The attorney will also consider the relationship between the potential ward and the prospective guardian and the impact of that on the proceeding.

A lawyer will also discuss alternative options to guardianship, such as Powers of Attorney and other alternatives to legal guardianship that may be available. Guardianship proceedings can be lengthy and complicated, and the outcome will have a long-term impact on the potential ward and their family. As such, it is critical to have a Chicago Guardianship Attorney on your side to ensure that the best interests of your loved one are served.

The first step in a guardianship proceeding is to file a Verified Petition with the Court. The petition will recite the powers requested, set forth the alleged incapacitated person’s functional limitations and provide details of why a guardian is needed. The Petition must include the name and address of the alleged incapacitated person (the “AIP”), the proposed guardian and their relationship to the AIP.

Once the petition is filed, the Court will appoint a neutral person called a guardian ad litem who will act as the “eyes and ears” of the Court. The guardian ad litem will interview the AIP, inform them of their rights and advocate on their behalf before the hearing. The Court Evaluator, the AIP’s attorney and the prospective guardian all receive copies of all papers filed with the Court.

At the hearing, the attorney will present all of the facts and evidence to the Judge. The Court will then determine if a guardian should be appointed and what type of guardianship should be ordered.

Once a Guardian is appointed, the Court will monitor the Guardian on an ongoing basis. The Guardian will be required to file annual reports with the Court describing their activities and making recommendations. Guardians are also required to undergo training and attend periodic updates on their duties.

Guardianship proceedings can be complex and lengthy, and the outcomes will have a long-term impact on your loved one’s health and wellbeing. It is crucial to have an experienced Chicago Guardianship Attorney by your side to guide you through the process and to ensure that all of the requirements for a successful guardianship are met. Contact the attorneys at Kevin M. Rosner to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific situation.