When people discuss guardianship of adults with disabilities, you may assume that this is something you will never have to worry about. But the truth is, countless disabilities can occur due to old age. Your parents or grandparents can become incapacitated by diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or mental illness, and need a legal guardian to help them get through life. Below is a brief overview of guardianship and when it may be necessary. Hopefully, this will help you determine whether or not you need to pursue guardianship for your relative here in Illinois.
The Probate Court appoints a guardian to manage the affairs of a person incapable of doing so himself or herself. The person unable to handle such personal affairs is referred to as the ward. An adult will need a guardian assigned to be a proxy decision-maker if his or her disability has led to any of the following, resulting in a lack of ability to manage daily affairs:
Significant mental decline
Whoever seeks guardianship must prove in court that the prospective ward cannot make or communicate responsible decisions about his or her life. This can also extend to adults who are incapable of such decisions due to any of the following risky or damaging behaviors:
Excessive use of intoxicants or drugs
Simply meeting these requirements is not enough to ensure guardianship; the prospective guardian and his or her lawyer must prove that the prospective ward is incapable of engaging in decision-making. Even if someone has a history of making bad decisions, that does not necessarily mean that he or she is incapable of making decisions altogether, making a guardian legally unnecessary. To properly evaluate a prospective ward’s ability, or lack thereof, with regards to decision-making, the prospective guardian needs to sufficiently answer the following questions in the negatory:
Does this person understand when a decision is necessary?
Does this person understand the different decisions that he or she can choose to make?
Does this person understand the consequences of making any of those decisions?
Upon making such decisions, can this person adequately communicate that decision to the proper people who need to know about it?
If the prospective ward fails at any of this, then he or she may need a guardian. Being unable to make and communicate these decisions could prevent the prospective ward from especially important decision-making moments, such as:
Determining the best place to live under his or her circumstances (assisted living, long-term care facility)
Being capable of working the proper job for him or her despite the disability, if applicable
Seeking proper medical care and other professional services to ensure his or her well-being
Caring satisfactorily for his or her dependents, if there are any
Planning and purchasing life necessities, such as clothing and food
If any of the above situations seem relevant to your parents or grandparents and their current living situation, you should strongly consider reaching out to a Downers Grove guardianship lawyer. The caring and knowledgeable team at SBK Law Group can help you ensure the safety and well-being of your elderly parents or relatives. For help with your case, call us today at 630-427-4407 to schedule a free consultation.