Over the past few days, people and headlines have been focused on entertainer Britney Spear’s pleas to the California courts to end the 39-year-old’s forced conservatorship during the past 13 years. In 2008 her father, Jamie Spears, was named her legal guardian for all of her personal and financial matters after Spears’ very public mental health breakdown. On June 23, Britney Spears made a public court appearance to the court via Zoom where anyone and everyone can hear her tell the judge that she wants to end the conservatorship and to get her life back.
One of the most shocking facts revealed by Spears is that she is forced to wear an IUD against her wishes and that she cannot marry or have a child as she so desperately wishes. Since 2008, she has been under a forced, California court-ordered conservatorship covering her person and her estate.
The term “conservatorship” is no longer used in Illinois. A conservatorship is a guardianship, a legal term that refers to the legal right to make decisions for someone else. The Illinois Probate Act was amended in 1979 to provide statutory protections for disabled persons who can no longer manage their own affairs.
1. Guardian of the Person
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 often referred to as the “ward.”
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 someone is designated the guardian of the person, they can legally make all decisions regarding their ward’s healthcare, including birth control, and their legal decisions, such as their ability to marry. Illinois courts are very careful in awarding guardianship of the person to someone without sufficient medical and legal proof that the person could harm themself or someone else if this drastic step is not taken. In most cases, guardianships are only awarded if someone is extremely disabled mentally ill, unable to communicate or make their own decisions, and this decision is taken very seriously by the court system.
If you are an adult living under a conservatorship, or need to become the guardian of an adult who needs protection, an experienced guardianship attorney can explain the system and your rights under the law.
An experienced Lombard guardianship attorney can help you understand the legal process in guardianship cases, represent you in court, suggest alternatives to guardianship, or provide other assistance as you seek to protect you and your family’s legal rights. To talk to a Cook and DuPage County Illinois guardianship attorney, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group in DuPage County, Illinois, today at 630-382-8075.