As our parents and older loved ones age we are often faced with the reality that one of them has become incapable of caring for himself or herself. Often, this is the result of Alzheimer’s or another age related dementia disease. If you find yourself in this position you may need to consider petitioning to become your loved one’s guardian. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of guardianship in Quad Cities Illinois may help you decide how to proceed.
Guardianship is an option that is available in Illinois if you believe that a loved one is disabled because of mental deterioration, physical incapacity, mental illness, or developmental disability. If your loved one has an incapacity plan that is included in his or her estate plan there should be no need to pursue guardianship; however, if incapacity planning was not accomplished in advance, guardianship is usually the only option.
In Illinois you may petition to become a guardian of the person, guardian of the estate, or both. As guardian of the person you will make personal decision for the protected person. As guardian of the estate you will make decisions relating to the protected person’s estate.
One of the biggest advantages to guardianship in Quad Cities Illinois is the broad powers you may be granted if you are appointed guardian. If the court grants you plenary guardianship you will have the power to make all decisions for the ward, including both person and estate decisions. This makes managing your loved one’s affairs relatively easy and discourages any challenge to your authority.
The disadvantages to guardianship relate both to the protected person and the potential guardian. From the protected person’s standpoint guardianship does not allow the individual to decide who will control his or her assets or make decisions. If a guardianship is warranted the situation is past the point at which the disabled person can decide who will control assets or make decisions on his or her behalf. Had the disabled individual created an incapacity plan that included a power of attorney, advanced directive, and/or revocable trust the need for a guardian could have been avoided and the disabled individual would have been able to decide who will make decisions in his or her place.
From the potential guardian’s standpoint, the major disadvantages to guardianship are time and money. The guardianship process can take several months (or longer) to complete because of the legal procedures that must be followed to ensure that the protected person’s rights are protected. Petitioning for guardianship also typically comes with significant expenses for court costs, legal fees, and physician fees.
As a general rule, a comprehensive estate plan that includes incapacity planning can provide all of the advantages of a guardianship without the disadvantages.
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