Chicago Elder Law Attorneys
Physical, emotional, and legal needs change throughout life. Adults often face different types of challenges and questions as they grow older. An elder law attorney specializes in these questions. The Chicago elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC are adept at working with the physical and emotional needs of older adults and caring for their legal needs.
Your family and close friends can be helpful. But engaging the services of Chicago limited guardian attorney is a wise investment. Our mission is to help aging Americans navigate issues that arise as they age.
One way we can help is to explain guardianship issues for older adults. Call our offices today at [phone number linked=”true”] for a free consultation with a professional on our experienced legal team. They will listen to your situation and answer your questions.
Areas of Life Where an Elder Law Attorney Can Help
Elder law attorneys deal with several areas to help their clients prepare for the future. Some of the primary concerns addressed include:
- Estate planning
- Financial planning
- Durable Power of Attorney and Medical Directives
- Long-Term Care
Guardianship protects an individual who is unable to handle their affairs. Guardianship should be used with caution to protect the rights of an older adult. Once established, it can be difficult to revoke. Therefore, it is often permanent. The right to privacy and independence in determining how to manage affairs should be limited only when it is necessary.
When you work with the attorneys from Peck Ritchey, LLC, our legal team helps determine whether the court will find a limited guardianship in the best interest of the older adult. There are practical questions that help determine need, such as:
- Does the person understand the necessary decisions?
- Does the person understand the consequences of the options they choose?
- Can the person appropriately manage their affairs?
Limited Guardianship for Older Adults
In legal terms, a guardian is a person, institution, or agency the court appoints to manage the affairs of another person. This person is called the ward. Illinois law identifies seven basic forms of guardianship.
Limited guardianship is one form. Under limited guardianship, the court grants authority to the guardian only to the extent that is necessitated by the ward’s limitations.
The guardian can make decisions about finances, medical care, or personal care. The powers granted by the court are specifically listed in the court order. The ward retains the power to make all other decisions about themselves or their estate. Illinois courts may appoint the person who applies to be the guardian, or they may choose a person. A guardian must meet certain criteria, including being a person who:
- Is of sound mind
- Is at least 18 years old
- Has not been convicted of a felony
- Is a resident of the U.S.
- Is acceptable to the court
The court may determine that an agency is best suited to provide guardianship. However, an institution where a ward resides cannot be appointed as a limited guardian since it represents a conflict of interest. A banking institution can be appointed guardian of an estate but cannot be appointed limited guardianship of a person.
What Are the Duties of a Limited Guardian?
As a limited guardian, you assume important responsibilities for your ward. The court levies a duty of care upon the limited guardian to be responsible for the care outlined in the court order. For many, that means making medical or financial decisions.
The guardian must also evaluate the ward to determine whether further care or guardianship responsibilities are necessary. The purpose of the guardianship is to help the ward maintain maximum self-reliance and independence.
In some cases, the limited guardian is also responsible for reporting to the court. The reports address specific points, such as decisions made within the limits of the guardianship order. For example, financial responsibilities can include much more than paying the bills. Financial responsibilities can include:
- Handling investments
- Paying bills
- Managing bank accounts
- Filing state and federal taxes for the ward
The court may direct the guardian to represent the ward in all legal proceedings. The guardian may hire an attorney to handle these matters. The court may allow the guardian to use the ward’s funds to pay the attorney fees.
How to Obtain Limited Guardianship
There is a required court process to be appointed a limited guardian for an older adult. The first step is to determine whether the person needs a guardian. The court then evaluates the suitability of the person who wants to be the guardian. Finally, decisions are made about the scope of the limited guardianship.
The process and procedures to obtain a limited guardianship are published in Section 11a of the Illinois Probate Act. Before the court proceedings begin, a report must be completed and signed by a board-certified and licensed physician. It may be necessary for other professionals to contribute to the report if the physician is not familiar with the aspects of life in which the ward is struggling.
The law also makes provisions for emergency protection and a temporary guardian appointment. However, temporary guardianship will automatically expire within 60 days or when a permanent limited guardian is appointed.
When You Need a Chicago Elder Law Attorney
Planning a limited guardianship and executing the procedure is not an easy task. Standards and timelines must be met. Additionally, there are other hurdles to consider, including family dynamics.
Seek the skill and experience of a Chicago limited guardianship attorney with Peck Ritchey, LLC when you want to protect a loved one. Our attorneys are compassionate and understand the difficulty of the situation. We also know that each situation is unique.
We take care to listen to your story and understand the details so we can develop a customized plan. It isn’t easy to come to terms with the fact that your loved one may not be able to take care of themself any longer.
Our legal team treats you and your loved one with respect and understanding in this difficult time. Seeking limited guardianship helps protect your family member’s rights and ability to live as independently as possible.
Call Us Today
The law is fluid, and the details of elder law can change. The experienced Chicago elder law attorneys at Peck Ritchey, LLC counsel clients with up-to-date advice and with a global view of your current challenges. Beginning the process may not be easy, but it helps your loved one regain control of their life. Call our offices today at (855) 328-5787 for your free consultation and to get your questions answered.