If you have a child who has special needs and cannot completely take care of him or herself, you may want to consider guardianship when your child turns 18. Regardless of any medical or mental health issues, the law is clear that when a person turns 18 years old, he or she is a legal adult in Illinois. If you feel your child will not be able to care for him or herself and make adult decisions, your best option is to seek guardianship.
To determine if you need guardianship, the Special Needs Alliance suggests taking a step back and thinking about your child and how well he or she handles daily tasks. Answer the question of whether or not your child has the ability to make good decisions. Also, consider if he or she would be able to properly handle his or her own finances. These things can point you in the right direction for or against guardianship.
If you feel your child cannot handle his or her own daily care, finances or decision making, you may opt for full or limited guardianship. For example, if you think your child is fine taking care of daily needs and making decisions about his or her life but you do not think he or she can make sound financial decisions, then you may decide on a limited guardianship where you just control his or her finances.
In any case, if you set up a guardianship for your child, make sure to remember to plan for the future and name guardian to take over after your death. This information is for education and is not legal advice.