A difficult transition in life that is not often discussed is guardianship. Below are some frequently asked questions about guardianship to help you understand the legal process. At the Law Offices of J. Jeltes, your guardianship attorney in Chicago, you will be supported and well informed during your legal guardianship process.

What is a Guardian?

A guardian is an adult who accepts full legal responsibility by the court to make all decisions regarding healthcare, general care for a child or adult. This means they determine where the ward will live, study, participate in social and recreational activities, and how they will be fed and dressed. Guardians also typically manage the financial decisions of the ward.

How Do You Become a Guardian?

Guardians are appointed by the court to accept responsibility of the ward. The person may be selected by the child’s biological parents, or selected by the court in the event that the biological parents are unable to provide care.  

What is the Difference Between a Guardian and Conservator?

A conservator is appointed by the court to manage the estate of a ward and manage the financial decisions. A guardian deals with the care and well being of the ward. This means they determine where the ward will live and make medical decisions on behalf of the ward. A person can be appointed to be both a guardian and a conservator. A guardianship attorney in Chicago can help you determine which designation is better for your family.

How is Guardianship Different from Adoption?

The difference between guardianship and adoption is the legal relationship between the child and their biological parents. A guardianship is a legal relationship that exists in parallel with the child’s relationships with the biological parents. An adoption permanently severs the relationship of the child and their biological parents and the biological parents surrender all parental rights and obligations.

When Would Adult Guardianship Be Necessary?

While the law states that anyone over the age of 18 is considered an adult, however, there are certain conditions that allow an adult to have a guardian appointed.

  • Mental deterioration such as Alzheimer’s
  • Physical incapacity
  • Mental illness
  • Developmental disability

In any of these situations, the person must be determined to be incapable of making responsible decisions regarding their health or financial matters. A guardian would be appointed to an adult to protect the person and their assets. The Law Offices of J. Jeltes, your guardianship attorney in Chicago will help you determine if an adult is in need of guardianship.  

How Long Will You Be A Guardian?

The court will determine how long the guardianship will last. Typically in the case of children, the legal guardianship would end when they turn 18. It is possible for the guardianship to end if the court determines another person should be the guardian. This could mean the biological parents are able to care for the minor, a new person has been determined to be the guardian, or if the guardian is unable to continue to care for the child.

How Do I Become a Guardian?

A trusted guardianship attorney in Chicago can help you begin the legal process to become a guardian. The Law Offices of J. Jeltes can support you through the transition and secure the future for the child or adult in need of a guardian.