The process of becoming a guardian in Naperville requires preparation and approval by the court. Because guardians assume such a great responsibility for others, the law requires them to follow specific procedures before the court may grant approval.

The guardianship process is a legal matter requiring a hearing, so many people in Naperville find it advantageous to work with an attorney to ensure all pre-requisites are fulfilled. A guardianship lawyer could also help ensure that those taking on the role of guardian understand the powers they hold and responsibilities they are expected to exercise.

Eligibility Requirements

The first step in the process of becoming a guardian in Naperville is to ascertain whether a proposed guardian meets the legal requirements to be eligible to take on the role. To be named a guardian in Naperville, an individual must be:

  • A legal resident of the United States
  • At least 18 years old
  • Of sound mind
  • Of good character (no convictions for serious crimes)

In addition to individuals, both public and private agencies may serve as guardians, so long as they are not providing residential services to persons in their facilities. While many people in Naperville assume that family members are automatically named as guardian for a close relative who becomes disabled, the appointment is not automatic and is only made if a court finds it to be in the best interests of the disabled person.

Guardianship Hearings

The state considers guardianship a “last resort” measure which should be used only when there is a sound and necessary purpose to remove a person’s legal rights and give control to another. Accordingly, guardianship proceedings are lengthy and complex so that the court is able to fully ascertain the need for guardianship.

Filing the Petition

Becoming a guardian in Naperville starts with filing a guardianship petition in court. The petition should be accompanied by a report from a doctor describing the physical and mental capacity of the person alleged to be disabled and incapable of making appropriate decisions on their own behalf. A copy of the petition and a summons must be served on the person who would become subject to guardianship. That person may request a jury trial, seek representation from an attorney, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses.

Guardian ad Litem

In some cases, the court appoints a guardian ad litem to investigate and act in the best interests of the person alleged to need guardianship. Before the hearing, the guardian ad litem meets with the person to help determine whether guardianship is appropriate.

The Hearing Process

During the hearing, both sides may present evidence regarding the mental acuity, health, lifestyle, housing, and financial condition of the person alleged to be in need of guardianship. The guardian ad litem may also report to the court and make a recommendation regarding the type of guardianship appropriate under the circumstances, if any. At the end, the court may either award plenary (full) guardianship, grant limited guardianship, or issue a finding that guardianship is not warranted.

Learn More About Becoming a Guardian in Naperville

In many cases, the party interested in becoming a guardian in Naperville must not only take responsibility for filing the petition and pursuing the matter in court, but must also pay fees for filing, sheriff summons, physicians reports, attorneys, and other costs. Before undergoing the process, the state recommends pursuing alternatives.

To learn more about becoming a guardian or how goals may be accomplished through alternative means, a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney is recommended. While temporary emergency guardianship may be obtained quickly within a day or two of filing a petition, in situations where there is no emergency may take many months to resolve in order to allow adequate time for a thorough investigation.