Establishing guardianship is an unpleasant, but absolutely vital task for anyone with children under the age of 18. If the parents of minor children should die without naming a legal guardian in their will, the decision of who will care for them is left to the discretion of the courts. In order to ensure that your children are cared for by the individuals of your choice, a legal will with guardianship provisions must be created. But how do you go about making the incredibly important choice of who will take care of your children if the unspeakable should happen? While each situation will be different, here are a few important factors to consider when establishing guardianship of Chicago area minors.
Guardianship In Chicago: Who Would Be Most Able To Take On The Responsibility?
Raising children is one of the most difficult jobs there is. Choosing the right guardian for your child will involve innumerable factors, but selecting someone who is in a suitable position to care for your child or children should be paramount. It's important to consider the emotional, physical and financial situation of any potential caregiver. While the selection process will certainly be an emotional undertaking, these practical concerns are of equal importance. For instance, in many cases individuals may consider their own parents as potential guardians, but if the children are still very young their grandparents may not be able to effectively care for them until they reach the age of majority.
Will All Of Your Children Live Together?
While most individuals would certainly prefer for their children to be raised together, naming each child individually and specifying where they will live should not be taken for granted. When naming a guardian, be sure to specify that they should be responsible for all of your children. If for some reason your selected caregiver is unable to fulfil your wishes, or is deemed unsuitable by the courts, it's also important to indicate that all of the children should be placed in an alternate living situation together.
Are Co-guardians An Option?
In many cases, parents may choose another couple as caretakers. If a two-parent home is selected it's important that both individuals are named in the will to ensure that legal rights are granted to them both.
Does Your Chosen Guardian Share Your Values?
In selecting a person or persons to raise your child, many individuals prefer an environment similar to their current situation. It's important to consider if the new home you've selected for your children will be commensurate with the values and beliefs you hold. For example, if a particular set of religious beliefs is important, those beliefs should be matched in any potential caregiver. The overall personality and disposition of potential guardians should also be considered to ensure they meet your approval.
Will Your Children Be Comfortable In Their New Home?
Finally, it's important to think of whom your children would be most comfortable with. Ultimately, the goal of any guardianship appointment is to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of the child. If there are family members or friends with whom your children share a bond they should be considered.
In the end, there are countless factors that may play into your choice for guardianship in Chicago, but the expert attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC can assist you in ensuring that your children are properly cared for if you should be unable to do so yourself. If you have questions about the legal process for naming a caregiver for your children, or would like more information about creating a will, contact Peck Ritchey, LLC at 855-328-5787.
After spending a large portion of his career fighting for the best care and financial strategies for his clients with Alzheimer’s disease, Peck Ritchey, LLC Managing Partner Kerry Peck co-wrote the book Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law in hopes that people use it as a manual to better understand the legal options that are available before and after a diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is a new book aimed at helping readers better understand the legal implications that an Alzheimer’s diagnosis has over an individual’s future.
Written by Chicago Litigation Lawyer Kerry Peck and Rick Law, Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is designed to give attorneys the knowledge needed guide their clients diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The book addresses ethics, health care options, asset protection strategies, and other long term care planning.
Additional contributors to this book include Brandon Peck and Diana Law. The book’s Forward was written by acclaimed author Scott Turow.
This book will answer a variety of questions including:
- How do we get health care for the patient?
- What are the ethics of working with clients with Alzheimer’s?
- What options are available for health care?
- How are these options going to affect the patient and the family/spouse?
- What is the long-term outlook for everyone?
- How can we protect the family assets?
For more information about Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law visit http://apps.americanbar.org/abastore/index.cfm?pid=1620569§ion=main&fm=Product.AddToCart
At Peck Ritchey, LLC we are more than just lawyers who help our clients navigate the legal system. We are lawyers who care about our clients. We care about their well-being and the well-being of their family members as they go through some of life's toughest transitions.
One example of this is setting up a guardianship in Chicago. It's a very difficult decision to choose to create a guardianship for an aging loved one and we understand that. That's why we offer emotional, legal and practical support to our clients as they face these decisions.
Yes, we can help you set up a guardianship in Chicago, but we won't leave you on your own once it has been established.
5 Ways Peck Ritchey Can Help Ease The Transition Of Guardianship In Chicago
There are many issues that arise as we age. One of the most difficult decisions an adult child can make is whether or not to establish a guardianship for their parent(s). Making that decision requires careful consultation with an attorney and other family members, but even after a guardianship has been set up, there are needs to be met. We can help you find the resources you need to navigate the transitions that caring for aging relatives bring.
1. Legal Knowledge. Sometimes, a guardianship isn't the best solution. We can analyze your situation and give you advice as to whether you should pursue a guardianship or if some other arrangement would work better such as power of attorney, a living will or surrogate decision-making.
2. Estate Planning. Depending on the type of guardianship created, you may find yourself responsible for your parent's estate. If they do not have an estate plan in place, a Peck Ritchey lawyer can help you create one. This can help ensure there are funds available for long-term care of the parents, to help you meet your tax obligations, or to make plans for nursing home care down the road.
3. Senior and Social Services. We are very active in the Chicago community and have developed strong working relationships with the many senior and social service agencies in the city. Guardians may find themselves under a lot of stress and pressure with their added responsibilities and could benefit from counseling or joining a support network of people going through the same challenges. We can help put you in touch with agencies that can make the transition to guardianship in Chicago easier on you and on your loved ones.
4. Social Security and Medicaid. It's not unusual for adult children to have questions about how Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid work once their parent is under a guardianship. If you have trouble obtaining access to benefits due to your parent(s), contact us. We can look into the situation and help you gain access to the benefits you are due.
5. Outside Care. Guardians still have their own lives to live. If you need help finding in-home care, suitable nursing homes, or end-of-life or hospice care for your loved one, we can recommend reputable agencies and review any documents or papers you are required to sign. If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, contact us immediately. We can investigate the situation and ensure actions are taken to protect your loved one right away.
It's a very common situation: Your elderly parents or grandparents simply cannot take care of themselves any longer. Perhaps your mother keeps forgetting to take her heart medication, or your grandfather has become so frail that he can't move around his home anymore. Perhaps the situation has even progressed as far as full-blown dementia. Whatever the specifics of the case may be, you've come to realize that your beloved relative needs someone to take care of her.
So what can be done about that? After all, it's not like you can just swoop in and take over a grown adult's affairs without consent. Luckily, there is a specific field of law that has provisions in place for this very situation called elder law. Chicago law firm Peck Ritchey has extensive experience in this field and can help you come up with a solution for how to care for your loved ones.
Conservatorship And Elder Law In Chicago
Obtaining control over an adult's affairs is known as guardianship or conservatorship. This goes a step further than a simple power of attorney. Conservatorship becomes appropriate only when an adult is determined to be disabled and completely unable to care for himself. There are several different levels of adult guardianship that may be appropriate depending on the unique situation.
It's important to know right at the outset what type of guardianship you would like to pursue. If full guardianship is necessary, then the guardian, or appointee, would have complete control over the elder's affairs, including medical and financial details. These duties can be shared with another competent adult as co-guardianship. If the situation does not require such full control, then a limited conservatorship may be the better option. The potential ward may only need help with financial matters, for example, or for making decisions about her medical care. It's also possible that you may only need to be the conservator for a short period, such as after an illness or surgery.
After you know what type of guardianship will be appropriate, your next job is to prove that your relative is unable to care for herself. The judge will not just take your word for it in such a serious matter; instead, you will need to consult a physician. That doctor will perform a thorough exam of your loved one and provide a physician's report that includes an explanation of whether he or she believes that the patient is incapacitated and why. Once you have this report, you can file a petition with the court.
What Happens Next?
After you've filed the petition, the judge in charge of the case will appoint a guardian ad litem. This is the term for a lawyer who will be responsible for representing the elder's rights in the case. The guardian ad litem will consult with his or her client in order to form another opinion over whether or not that person should be made a ward.
Copies of the petition will also be provided to the alleged ward and to your other relatives at least 14 days in advance of the court hearing. This way, no one can obtain conservatorship of a senior citizen without the knowledge of the rest of the family. This dramatically reduces the likelihood of elder abuse; for example, someone obtaining guardianship of a wealthy older person and then stealing all of the money.
During the court hearing, your job will be to convince the judge not only that your elderly relative is completely disabled, but that you would be an appropriate conservator. If you can state your case convincingly and have the corroborating opinions of both the guardian ad litem and the physician, then your request will most likely be granted.
Naturally, this process is more complicated than it sounds, and just like with any legal matter it requires scads of paperwork and forms to fill out correctly. And since the laws and regulations vary from state to state, it's always a good idea to consult with a specialist in elder law. Chicago area law firms will be able to assist you with guardianship cases in the state of Illinois and will be an invaluable resource to you. With the assistance of a qualified attorney, you can make sure that your elderly loved ones are protected.
Guardianship is a tricky subject for many families. It's difficult when it becomes clear that a loved one can no longer care for himself, especially if he was a self-sufficient adult at one time. If you're unsure what a Chicago guardianship lawyer can do, learn more about how they can help families throughout difficult times.
A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer Can Help Minors
The most commonly understood guardianship is when both parents of a minor child have died. If the parents have left a will, it should name who will be guardians of the child. If there was no will, a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help establish guardianship with the court. This can be straightforward if only one person steps forward, but more complicated if loved ones disagree on who would be the best guardian for the child.
Additionally, a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help grandparents or other loved ones step in if the parent is neglecting a minor child or even if a parent is a member of the military and needs to be deployed to a far away location. Guardianships do not sever the parent-child relationship and it's possible to relinquish guardianship for a limited time.
A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer Can Help The Mentally Ill
It's possible to have someone declared mentally ill and a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help loved ones assert control over their medical and financial decisions. One of the most famous cases of this type of situation was the case of Britney Spears a few years ago. She became even more famous when she shaved her head and attacked paparazzi with an umbrella, and people all over the world expressed concern over her behavior. In this case, her parents — specifically her father — realized she needed help and stepped in. He went to court and asked to be granted guardianship, though in California it was called a conservatorship. (The two terms are not completely legally interchangeable, so make sure to talk to an attorney if you need to understand the differences.)
This meant that Britney's father was legally responsible for her financial decisions, but he also decided where she lived and which doctors she should see. It's quite clear to anyone that this was the right decision for the Spears' family, as Britney just finished a successful run as a judge on the X Factor. It was unclear whether Britney's conservatorship would end any time in the near future.
A Chicago Guardianship Lawyer Can Help Seniors
Lastly, a Chicago guardianship lawyer can help seniors if they're unable to make decisions for themselves, including medical and financial decisions. Seniors can be particularly susceptible to falling for financial scams and a guardianship can help protect their assets from this. Additionally, having a guardian can help ensure that seniors receive the medical care they need, especially if they're suffering from health problems like dementia or Alzheimer's.
These are only three instances in which a Chicago guardianship lawyer can be of service. If you're not sure whether your situation requires this arrangement, contact Peck Ritchey. We can take a look at your specific situation and help you determine whether a guardianship could benefit your family.
If you have loved ones who are getting older, it's important to plan for a number of situations. An attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago can help with quite a few issues, including financial planning, guardianship and preventing financial elder abuse through a power of attorney. Taking the time to prepare for these situations can help protect your loved ones as they age.
Attorneys Specializing In Elder Law In Chicago Can Help With Financial Planning
Getting older is expensive, especially if long-term medical care is necessary. The cost of long-term care can be staggering and can quickly wipe out a family's resources in just a few short years. To protect your assets, meet with an elder law attorney. He or she will know what's necessary for you to quality for services like Medicaid, how to legally protect your assets whenever possible and keep your relative living in her own home if that's what she would like to do.
A Lawyer With Experience In Elder Law In Chicago Can Help With Guardianship
It's very likely that your elderly relative will become unable to care for him or herself at some point. If you're worried about them harming themselves in an accident, or you're concerned that they could be swindled out of their financial resources, it may be necessary to establish a guardianship. A lawyer with experience in elder law in Chicago will be able to draw up guardianship papers so that you can be the one responsible for financial, health and living decisions.
Establishing guardianship can be difficult, especially if multiple family members don't agree on who should be the guardian or if it's even necessary. You will also need the help of an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago to help get the person declared legally incompetent, which can cause plenty of hurt feelings.
An Attorney Who Concentrates In Elder Law In Chicago Can Prevent Financial Abuse With A Power Of Attorney
Elder abuse is a major problem and it can include physical, mental and sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment and financial abuse. While the police should be contacted if you suspect elder abuse, an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago can help protect seniors against financial abuse. If you're concerned that a loved one is being swindled out of their money, or someone is taking advantage of them, contact a lawyer about drawing up a power of attorney. A power of attorney will give financial control to someone else, which can protect your loved one's bank account.
If you have a loved one who seems to be losing money, is worried about affording long term care or you think they're unable to care for themselves, it might be time to contact an attorney who concentrates in elder law in Chicago. The attorneys at Peck Ritchey are elder law experts and can help you or your loved ones throughout every step of the aging process.
Most people will tell you that being a guardian means being responsible for another human being for as long as necessary in order to protect them. While a guardianship is certainly about protecting your ward, it's also about a variety of other things, and there are various forms of guardianship in Chicago, each one different from the others. We have several attorneys who concentrate in this type of law who can walk you through the process of establishing a guardianship. In Chicago, your parents' rights or independence could be adversely affected if you don't understand that there are many different forms of guardianship and if you don't choose the appropriate arrangement to protect them. If you would like to be appointed guardian of your parents, the time to tackle the issue is before they need someone rather than when it is too late.
A Guardianship In Chicago That Addresses Day-to-Day Issues
The correct title for a guardianship that covers all of the large and small decisions of daily living, including scheduling doctors' appointments, providing education and comfort, and arranging for any kind of service for your loved one is a Guardianship of the Person. With this, you will be able to shop for groceries, choose a residence and take care of the daily needs of your ward. Being able to make health care and medical decisions for an individual is usually the most important aspect of this kind of guardianship. Chicago families should talk to us about establishing a guardianship of the person before dementia, illness or an accident impairs the ward's judgment. If you wait too long, it could be too late to establish the guardianship without court intervention.
Guardianships Covering Money Issues
Guardianship of the Estate ensures that the individual appointed as the guardian can access and use the funds in an estate in the manner outlined in the will of the person who has passed away. When you are the guardian of an estate, you can make all financial decisions so long as they are in the best interests of the ward. Many people establish this kind of guardianship when their children are still minors.
Guardianship In Chicago Can Be Limited By The Court
A limited guardianship is exactly what it sounds like – it gives the guardian limited rights to make certain decisions for the ward or wards, but not all of them. For instance, you may be appointed guardian of the person but without the ability to access funds set aside in a trust. In many cases, a separate guardian in Chicago is appointed for monetary decisions and for day-to-day decisions. In this way, the ward is protected from unscrupulous guardians who could have too much power over the individual. If the specific powers of a guardian aren't established in the paperwork, the court has the right to outline the specific details of the guardianship, curtailing some powers and upholding others.
Establishing A Testamentary Guardianship
A testamentary guardianship is usually established by parents or individuals who appoint people they approve of and have faith in as guardian of their minor children or ailing parents. In most cases, a will can designate a testamentary guardian or guardians, but these individuals aren't official guardians until the court formally appoints them as such. If you're considering appointing one or more guardians, Chicago attorneys can help you choose the right individuals for the job and walk you through the court process.
A Guardianship That Can Be Revoked
There is a form of guardianship in Chicago that isn't permanent. This is called a temporary guardianship and it's usually set up only in an emergency situation and usually doesn't last longer than sixty days. In most cases, a temporary guardianship is set up to meet an immediate need until a long-term solution can be put into effect or until the ward is recovered and can once again take care of his or her self.
Let Peck Ritchey help you determine what your family's needs are and assist you in choosing the best possible guardianship. Chicago residents who have had guardianships arranged by Peck Ritchey's estate and probate lawyers can rest easy knowing their loved ones are fully protected by law.
Many people watch legal dramas on television and think that an attorney spends the majority of his or her time in court, arguing before a judge or jury. While it's true that some attorneys work in litigation, there is one group of lawyers that dedicate themselves to helping their clients as they age. Getting older is certainly inevitable, but there are certain steps that an attorney that concentrates in elder law in Chicago can take to help older adults as they age.
Estate Planning Lawyers Who Work With Elder Law In Chicago
Estate planning is a major part of an elder law attorney's job. While many people know that estate planning is important, they don't really understand what this means. One of the first things that needs to be done is writing a will. A will can help your family members understand what will happen with your belongings after you pass on, which can help alleviate a lot of stress for your family members after you're gone.
However, a will isn't the only document that needs to be drawn up. You'll also need to create a power of attorney. This document is useful in the event that you're unable to make medical decisions for yourself, because it gives another person the authority to speak for you. A living will can also help with specific medical situations, such as if you're unable to breathe or eat on your own.
Guardianship Attorneys Who Specialize In Elder Law In Chicago
No one really wants to think about the day their parents are unable to care for themselves, but if this happens, it's important to work with a lawyer who can help with elder law in Chicago. These attorneys can assist you throughout the legal process of taking over your parents' medical decisions and finances, which can help keep older adults safe from scammers.
Planning For Unique Situations
Although it's hard to talk about, many people will need some sort of professional care as they age. An attorney who understands elder law in Chicago will be able to plan for long-term medical care, including cases of Alzheimer's disease. Long-term care can be quite expensive and these attorneys help families maximize care, while keeping finances intact.
If you're concerned with taking care of your aging parents or another beloved older adult, the best thing to do is to contact attorneys who specialize in elder law in Chicago. The professional team of attorneys at Peck Ritchey always keeps your family's best interests in mind. Working with a professional attorney who understands elder law in Chicago can help ensure that your family is well taken care of.
Elder abuse can occur in many forms including physical harm, emotional abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. If a family member is staying in a nursing home and signs of abuse begin to surface, do you know what legal steps to take to ensure justice for your family?
If your relative has been injured or neglected at their nursing home, or other facility, our attorneys will work with agencies and assist with placing them in a safe environment. They also work closely with personal injury firms to settle estates and arrange settlements to maximize their future care.
It’s important to understand the best care options for your elderly relatives. Consult with an elder law attorney at Peck Ritchey, LLC to find out what steps you should take to ensure the safety of your loved ones. Peck Ritchey LLC’s attorneys understand the stress that victims and their families face after a nursing home injury and take pride in providing efficient, courteous and informed services to their clients.
For a no-cost consultation with an attorney call (312) 201-0900.
Planning for the future of your children or loved ones without you in it is not a task that anyone enjoys, but it's a necessary one in many cases. Guardianships are designed to help care for your loved ones if you're unable to. They can be created to care for minor children, adults with special needs or elderly relatives. No matter whom the arrangement will protect, a guardianship lawyer is necessary to help you navigate the legal requirements of creating a guardianship. A Peck Ritchey guardianship lawyer in Chicago can help you create, manage, change or terminate a guardianship.
Why You May Need A Guardianship Lawyer In Chicago
As mentioned above, there are three main situations in which guardianships are used: to care for minors, to care for adults who cannot care for themselves and to care for the aged who are also unable to care for themselves.
A guardianship is a court order that assigns a responsible person the job of making important life decisions for their wards (persons being protected by the guardianship) because they can't do so on their own. They are common in cases where the ward is a minor with parents who are no longer living or who are unable to care for their children due to extenuating circumstances.
For parents with special needs children, talking with a guardianship lawyer in Chicago can help them plan for the future care of their child once they are unable to do so themselves. In these cases, the parents want to designate someone to care for or assist their child in decision-making, depending on the child's specific needs. Some adults with special needs are capable of independent living but may need some help managing their finances, while others need around the clock care, for example. A guardianship lawyer in Chicago can help the parents determine what type of guardianship will best suit their specific situation.
Adult children with aging parents sometimes find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to take control of their parents' lives. A formal guardianship is a way to protect everyone's interests. Since it is court-supervised, it ensures the parents' best interests are being looked out for and it protects the guardian in decision-making if another relative raises questions or complains about the care given. These types of guardianships can be set up long before they are ever needed, with the full agreement of the parents and children, or they can be set up once it becomes obvious that the parent is unable to make sound decisions.
Responsibilities Of The Guardian
Every guardianship is different, just as every personal situation is different. There are several types of guardianships, but the specific responsibilities under each type vary from case to case. Some guardians have full control over decisions affecting their wards, while others only support and advise the ward in their decision-making and still others only manage the property or finances of the ward.
If you want to learn more about guardianships, contact Peck Ritchey at 877-845-1743. An experienced guardianship lawyer in Chicago will be happy to discuss the options with you and help you get the process started.