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.
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.
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 (855) 328-5787. An experienced guardianship lawyer in Chicago will be happy to discuss the options with you and help you get the process started.
Hoarders fail to recognize the dangers of their behavior. As the severity of the hoarding increases, others may have to step in and intervene.
How hoarding leads to self neglect:
- Food preparation becomes difficult when appliances and kitchen are inaccessible or inoperable.
- Extreme clutter is a safety hazard.
- Debris in the bathroom may prevent proper hygiene.
- Large quantities of “stuff” may make it difficult to find and properly dispense medications.
Hoarding is often coupled with isolation; therefore the older adult has few people checking in on their safety, they are not going to the doctor, etc.
Several legal issues can arise from hoarding:
- Landlord may petition the court to evict a tenant when unsanitary conditions violate a lease;
- Animal welfare may petition the court to remove abused or neglected animals and potentially press charges;
- Public health department may appear before court to demand an order to bring property to code or to condemn the property.
The legal system can play a key role with appropriate intervention.
Judges recognize hoarding as a social and personal problem. Attorneys work together with social service providers to implement and support the necessary changes. They create an explicit plan that clarifies what changes in the home must occur and establish a mandated timeline to complete those changes.
Peck Ritchey concentrates in all aspects of probate, estate planning, guardianship, tax law, elder abuse and elder law. Our attorneys provide innovative approaches and successful solutions to meet your needs and have extensive experience with hoarding cases.
To speak with an attorney about a hoarding-related issue call Peck Ritchey at (855) 328-5787 and receive a 30-minute no-cost consultation.
Most people can become intimidated the first time they consider consulting with an attorney, especially when the person across the court room is your family. You may not know the criteria to look for to ensure you are hiring an experienced elder law attorney. Always spend time doing your homework, ask for referrals from the Chicago or Illinois Bar Association, check out their website, and ask for a free consultation to ensure you’re a good fit. If things turn ugly in a probate, will, trust, guardianship or estate matter, an experienced will and trust litigation lawyer is a must. Some lawyers have more experience than others in the courtroom, and this experience will be a big asset in your case when they argue for your rights.
The guidance you can get from guardianship lawyers, elder law and probate attorneys can ease the overwhelming tension of a family dispute. Please consider these factors when deciding to retain counsel.
Show me the Money
If there’s the potential for significant amounts of money to change hands, it’s likely that one or both parties will resist settling things out of court. Someone will take the problem before a judge, hoping to maximize their inheritance or monetary compensation and what they feel they deserve – rather than what the drafter of the will or trust intended. In order to ensure your interests are represented and properly communicated according to Illinois law, hire an estate litigation lawyer.
Reading Between the Lines
Has someone disputed a will in which you are entitled to a portion of the estate? Is a power of attorney for health care or property being misused in order to benefit the agent rather than the elderly person? Whatever the case, seek out an elder law lawyer with litigation experience to clarify, defend or refute the interpretation of the documents in question.
Protect YOUR Interests
The minute you learn any other party has retained an estate litigator, or filed anything in Court, you should start looking for a will and trust litigation lawyer yourself. Don’t wait to try and defend yourself. Although you think you may be saving money on legal fees, waiting until the case becomes messy to ask for help may result in the attorney being unable to help you or legal fees mounting more rapidly as drastic measures must be taken. The earlier you hire your own elder law attorney, the more time they will have to properly prepare to defend your case.
Confidence in the Courtroom
Sometimes you just know in your gut that the dispute you’re involved in won’t be resolved easily. In most legal situations, you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed standing in front of a judge or working your way through the legal jargon; that’s natural. After all, you didn’t attend years of law school and you don’t have the experience of a practiced will and trust litigation lawyer. Always ensure that the elder law attorney you are hiring has litigation experience in the probate and guardianship courts. Ask if they know the judge that has been assigned to your case, the opposing counsel or if they have argued in both the state and federal courts.
Remember, the only reliable legal advice you can get isn’t through the grapevine or the Internet, but by consulting an attorney yourself.
When you need an elder law specialist who is concerned with the rights of the elderly, you need to find someone who isn’t just a litigation lawyer. Chicago residents may find someone who is skilled at arguing a case but isn’t familiar with issues facing the elderly if they don’t narrow down their search to skilled attorneys who are also familiar with elder case law and specifics of retirement, elder abuse and other concerns of those over sixty-five. You need someone who is not only experienced in the courtroom and at the negotiating table, but someone who is compassionate, patient, and focused on helping the elderly.
If you need an attorney who specializes in elder law, ask the following questions to ensure you’re finding the right person to help you or your loved ones:
Are You Familiar With Elder Law?
Sometimes the most obvious questions are overlooked. Simply ask any attorney you are considering whether he or she is familiar with the many elder laws for your state. While any law firm can handle elder law issues, not every firm has attorneys on staff who are thoroughly familiar with the complexities of elder law or who specialize in litigating or negotiating elder law issues. Be sure and ask for the names and relative experience of each person in the firm who specializes in this particular type of legal work.
If you’re looking for a guardianship lawyer, Chicago has hundreds of attorneys who will be glad to help you, but not all of them have handled enough guardianship cases to truly make them experts. Ask how many guardianship cases the attorney has handled. Experience is crucial when you’re setting up or contesting a guardianship. Also be sure and ask how much experience the firm’s litigation lawyers have in case your elder law issue turns into a court case. Finding an elder law specialist who keeps up to date with the multitude of constantly changing elder laws in Chicago is crucial if you want results that will protect you and your loved ones.
Does Your Law Firm Handle Every Aspect of Elder Law?
Legal issues surrounding the well-being of the elderly are numerous. Don’t forget to ask any law firm you’re interviewing which areas of elder law they specialize in or are familiar with. While you may need an attorney to draw up a will or create a power of attorney now, you’ll probably need a litigation lawyer or specialist in retirement planning at some point down the road. You don’t want to have to shop around for a new attorney every time your needs change. Find a law firm that handles every aspect of elder law, including estates, trusts, Medicare issues, elder abuse and any other issue that could affect you and your family. If you need a guardianship lawyer, Chicago has dozens, but only a few are knowledgeable enough to handle all aspects of elder law for you.
Ask the attorneys you are interviewing which of these elder law specialties they routinely handle:
• Medicaid and Medicare;
• Social Security;
• Estate Planning and Management;
• Long-Term Care Arrangements;
• Elder Abuse;
• Pension Issues and Retirement Plans; and
• Mental Health Issues.
What Elder Law Organizations Do You Belong To?
Elder law specialists take pride in their work and support other attorneys and organizations that are involved with protecting the elderly. The finest litigation lawyers who focus on elder issues will belong to organizations that promote elder law reform and understanding. Ask if the attorney is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, or NAELA or a local branch of the Area Agency on Aging.
Are You One Of The Best Lawyers I Can Find?
There is no one measurement that defines an outstanding attorney, but the “Super Lawyer” designation is one of the most reliable. This designation is determined by fellow attorneys and represents the top 5% of all lawyers. You can rest assured that an attorney is one of the best litigation lawyers or elder care attorneys around if his peers have chosen him for the distinction of being named a “Super Lawyer.”
Do You Help Others Learn About Elder Laws?
The most fervent advocates for the elderly are the ones who don’t stop at handling elder law cases when their work week ends. Look for attorneys who also have speaking engagements or offer seminars to those over 65 regarding elder care issues. Education is central to helping individuals like you understand the complexities of elder law.