When an Illinois resident requires the care or decision-making ability of another, it may be necessary to set up a guardianship. According to FindLaw, a guardianship allows one entity or person to make decisions for another, who is referred to as the ward.
If a person is disabled or incapacitated without a medical directive or a durable power of attorney in place, the court may establish a guardianship. They are then charged with making both financial and non-financial decisions for the person who cannot make them for themselves. Guardianships are valuable for those with physical and mental disabilities or incapacities. Many lack the ability to care for themselves, earn a living, express themselves or live independently.
A guardianship's power is not unlimited, however. They are not providing caretaking services and are not tasked with micromanaging the person's life. Guardianship powers include the following:
- Medical decisions
- Financial decisions
- Maintenance and availability of care
- Medical services and educational services are adequate and maintained
- Updating the ward's condition to the courts
The court updates include information about the physical and mental health of the individual, their living situation, the list of services they are received, an account of their monetary assets and any other information the court deems necessary. Guardians must be qualified to be chosen by the court. This means they must be at least 18, cannot have a gross misdemeanor or felony record of dishonesty and cannot be incapacitated themselves.
In many cases, the ward can express their wishes when it comes to their guardian. This can be done with power of attorney or a will. If those documents are unavailable, the court may choose a brother, sister, parent, adult children, spouse or other family member of the ward as the guardian.