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What Disabilities May Justify Guardianship of a Disabled Adult in Illinois?

 Posted on July 07, 2021 in Family Law

Chicago Family Law Attorney for Adult GuardianshipWhen we hear the term “guardianship,” we often think of children. However, Illinois law also provides legal avenues for someone to receive guardianship of a disabled adult. If you have a loved one with a disability that renders him or her unable to care for himself or herself, you may be interested in getting guardianship of that person. Although the law uses the word “disability,” when referring to guardianship of an adult, the criteria for what constitutes a disabled person is more inclusive than you may assume.

How Does Illinois Define a Disability for the Purposes of Guardianship?

There are several different types of guardianship in Illinois. When someone acts as a guardian for an adult, they may assume responsibility for that person’s medical, financial, and/or day-to-day decision-making. Illinois courts only grant guardianship of an adult if that person meets the legal definition of disabled. A disabled adult is someone who cannot make and communicate reasonable decisions about his or her personal affairs. This incapacitation may be due to:

  • Cognitive deterioration – Many times, guardianship of a disabled adult is granted when an older adult suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Huntington’s disease, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases may also cause a person to be unable to care for himself or herself.

  • Physical incapacity – If an individual suffers a physical handicap that leaves him or her unable to manage his or her estate or person, the court may appoint someone to act as that person’s guardian. Physical incapacitation may also be caused by brain injuries, spine injuries, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, and countless other medical conditions.

  • Mental illness – When a person’s mental illness prevents him or her from making sound decisions about his or her own life or the person cannot keep himself or herself safe, this may constitute a disability. Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depressive disorder are just some of the mental illnesses that may justify guardianship.

  • Developmental disability – Down Syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, autism, and other conditions that affect a person’s decision-making and problem-solving skills may also necessitate guardianship.

  • Substance abuse and other addictions – You may be surprised to learn that addiction and substance abuse may constitute disabilities under Illinois law. Per 5 ILCS 70/1.06, a person is legally disabled if he or she suffers from alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, or another condition and “wastes his or her estate as to expose himself or herself or his or her family to want or suffering,”

Contact a Chicago Guardianship Lawyer

Petitioning the court for guardianship of a disabled adult is a complicated legal matter so it is important to work with a skilled attorney. Cook County family law attorney George J. Skuros has served Illinois residents for over 30 years. He and the rest of the team at The Law Office of George J. Skuros can provide dependable legal guidance and representation during your guardianship case. Call 312-884-1222 for a free consultation today.




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