My adult son has been addicted to drugs for a long time, and makes very bad personal and financial decisions. Can I protect him by becoming his legal guardian?
Being the parent, spouse or child of a drug addict can be stressful and scary. When someone is not in their right state of mind they can make very poor decisions that hurt themself and their loved ones, including making poor financial decisions.
Illinois law presumes that an adult eighteen years of age or older is capable of handling their own legal affairs. In Illinois, a guardianship can be awarded when an adult drug addict is deemed to be a disability. A guardian can be appointed to protect the person from themself, and if, because of “excessive use of intoxicants or drugs”, the person spends or wastes their estates and exposes themself or their family to want or suffering.
Guardianship is a legal term that refers to the legal right to make decisions for someone else. In Illinois, there are 2 types of guardianship:
1. 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.”
2. 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, which is likely in the case of guardianship for someone who is disabled due to serious drug abuse, the same guardian can serve in both roles.
Obtaining a guardianship is a legal process that is handled through the court system. An Illinois court can appoint a guardian for a disabled adult over age 18. The steps to apply for guardianship are:
1. Provide a detailed, written report certifying that the person is disabled and needs a guardian, certified by a physician.
2. Hire an attorney to represent the proposed guardian. While a guardianship attorney is not strictly required by Illinois law, in the absence of an attorney the court likely will appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the disabled person in court.
3. Petition the court to appoint the parent or other adult as the disabled adult’s legal guardian.
An experienced Illinois 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 attorney, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group in DuPage County, Illinois, today at 630-800-0112.