When Is It Time To Become A Parent’s Legal Guardian?

  • Elder Law
  • Guardianships
How To Get Legal Guardianship Of A Parent: Guardianship is a legal term that refers to the legal right to make decisions for someone else. | Attorney Mario Godoy | Lombard Estate and Probate Legal Group

If you have a parent who is suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s or another illness, he or she may no longer be able to responsibly handle their own financial, health and daily affairs. Family members who are caring for a loved one need to protect them from their own bad decisions, and protect them from fraud and being financially or even physically abused. For adult children who recognize that a parent has become vulnerable are often uncomfortable discussing the situation with their parent. Some parents recognize the problem and ask their children for assistance.

However, with illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia, many parents do not see they are facing a health crisis and will fight any loss of independence and control, even from their own children. In these situations, the caregiver may have to go to court to become the parent’s legal guardian.

How To Get Legal Guardianship Of A Parent

Guardianship is a legal term that refers to the legal right to make decisions for someone else. Guardianship may be necessary for someone in situations including:

  • An adult who is no longer able to independently make sound decisions regarding his or her healthcare
  • An adult who cannot manage his or her finances or property
  • An adult who has been the victim of fraud or abuse

In Illinois, there are two basic categories of guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate:

  • 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 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.

Obtaining a guardianship involves going through a formal legal process in the appropriate circuit court. If the parent is fighting the guardianship, they may hire their own attorney to represent their interests in court.

There is no one-fits-all solution to protecting a parent who is no longer able to care for themself. Hiring an elder law attorney can provide you with the best options to protect a vulnerable parent, such as a power of attorney or guardianship. If there are disagreements within the family about the parent’s care, an experienced elder law and guardianship attorney can educate the family about what a legal guardian or power of attorney can and cannot do.

A legal guardian should make decisions as his or her parent would have made the same decisions – and not make decisions the guardian would prefer.

Lombard Guardianship Attorney

If you have questions about caring for a parent who can no longer care for themself, contacting a knowledgeable guardianship and elder law attorney may be a good next step to 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 set up an initial meeting, contact the Estate and Probate Legal Group today at 630-864-5835.