There has been a lot of media coverage of the conservatorship on pop star Britney Spears. But what exactly is a conservatorship?
The term “conservatorship” is no longer used in Illinois. The Illinois Probate Act was amended in 1979 to provide statutory protections for disabled persons who can no longer manage their own affairs. An Illinois guardian of the estate has the same rights and responsibilities as a conservator in other states and is a legal guardianship appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs of someone due to age and physical or mental limitations. In Illinois, a guardianship can give someone control over the financial, legal and personal, day-to-day decisions of their ward.
Guardians of the estate are expected to make financial decisions on behalf of a disabled person, and they must have a firm understanding of the funds they become responsible for managing. Guardians of the estate are held accountable to the Illinois court, and they should know the basic information about:
• What assets the protected possesses
• The title of assets belonging to the protected
• The estimated value of assets belonging to that person
• The type and location of assets in question
Guardians may also need to collect other significant tax, bank, and financial documents. This could be hard to do alone, and it could help if potential guardians understand what they are getting into before attending a hearing.
Illinois law considers serving as a guardian for a disabled adult a serious responsibility and requires that a report must be provided to the court one year after someone’s appointment as guardian and every three years thereafter.
Establishing a guardianship is not always the best choice for everyone. Establishing a guardianship can be costly and time-consuming. There are some alternatives to guardianship that may be more beneficial. Some families may benefit more from establishing a power of attorney or a development endowment trust.
Establishing a guardianship is not an easy task, and for many people, the process is simply overwhelming. To talk to a guardianship attorney in Chicago or Lombard about how to set up a guardianship for a disabled adult, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-800-0112.