If you have a parent who is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and can no longer make decisions for themselves, how can you protect them from poor decisions and predators who prey on the elderly? Adult children caring for a parent who can no longer manage their own affairs often face significant stress and barriers to legally handling their parent’s affairs. With an adult guardianship in Illinois, adult children can care for a parent who is mentally incapable of making responsible decisions for their own care and finances.
Alzheimer’s Is A Disease That Could Impact Your Family
According to the National Institute on Aging, more than 5.5 million Americans, most of them age 65 or older, may have dementia caused by Alzheimer’s.. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s or other dementia-related diseases, and according to the Alzheimer’s Association:
• 5.8 million Americans age 65 and older were with Alzheimer’s dementia in 2020
• 80% are age 75 or older
• 1 in 10 people age 65 and older (10%) has Alzheimer’s dementia
According to the Illinois Department of Health, Illinois residents with Alzheimer’s is projected to reach 240,000 in 2025. To make sure your parent does not unintentionally make poor financial or legal or health care decisions and is not vulnerable to scams and elder fraud, you can petition for legal adult guardianship in Illinois.
If your parent is no longer able to make responsible decisions due to dementia, you can set up an adult guardianship in Illinois. In Illinois, there are two basic categories of guardianship: “person guardianship” and “estate guardianship.”
1. Person Guardianship
A guardian of the person has responsibility for making decisions regarding personal matters such as health care and housing for the incapacitated person, who is sometimes referred to as the “ward.”
2. Estate Guardianship
An estate guardian has the responsibility for caring for the incapacitated person’s property and financial affairs. He or she is responsible for paying bills and managing property and finances. Depending on the circumstances, a ward may need a guardian of his or her person, property, or both. When a situation calls for both, the same guardian can serve in both roles.
Getting an adult guardianship for your parent is a formal legal process in the appropriate circuit court. The first step of the process is to file a petition with supporting information using court-approved forms. The petition must include a detailed report from a licensed physician and other professionals regarding the specific reasons the person at issue is allegedly incapacitated.
The proposed ward has rights throughout this process, which include the right to have his or her own attorney and the right to a court hearing before a judge. In most cases, the court will also appoint a guardian ad litem who is responsible for making recommendations about what actions would be in the proposed ward’s best interests. While all cases differ depending on the circumstances, the court will generally schedule a hearing within 30 days of the date the petition for was filed.
If you have questions about caring for a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you understand the legal process. They can represent you in court, suggest alternatives to guardianship, or provide other assistance as you seek to protect you and your parent’s legal rights. To set up an initial meeting, contact the estate planning and elder law attorneys at Estate and Probate Legal Group today at 630-800-0112.