In the State of Illinois, there are three types of guardianships of a minor. You can be the guardian of a minor’s person, a minor’s estate, or a minor’s person and estate. Regardless of which type of Guardianship of a Minor is needed, the process is typically the same.
A Guardianship of a Minor’s Person is needed when a minor’s parents pass away, when the parents cannot be found or if the parents are unable to or are unwilling to take care of the minor. A Guardianship of a Minor’s Estate is required anytime a minor is going to receive any money or property that is $10,000 or more such an inheritance, from insurance or from a personal injury claim.
To become a guardian of a minor, either of the person, the estate, or both, the process begins by first determining whether you are qualified to serve as the guardian. To be a guardian in the State of Illinois, you must be at least 18 years old, a resident of the United States, of sound mind, not be an adjudged person with a disability and not have been convicted of a felony. You will then file a Petition for the Appointment of Guardian of Minor in the appropriate Illinois court. In Illinois, a guardianship is filed in the Circuit Court in the county where the minor resides. Each county in Illinois has their own Circuit Court.
Once the Petition for the Appointment of Guardian of Minor has been filed with the court, a hearing must be set. Depending on which county you are in, the court will schedule the hearing on its own, or you will need to contact the court to schedule the hearing. Once you have the hearing date and time, it is your responsibility to notify all appropriate parties that you are seeking to become a guardian and of the hearing. The minor is notified with a Summons and all other parties are notified by sending them a Notice of Motion. You will also need to file proof with the court that all parties have received notice.
Additionally, the court will most likely appoint a Guardian ad Litem. A Guardian ad Litem is appointed to act as the eyes and ears of the court. Their role is to scrutinize the guardianship petition and to act in the best interests of the minor. They advise the court whether a guardianship in needed and whether you should be appointed as the guardian. While a Guardian ad Litem is not required, most courts choose to appoint them. If a court does not appoint a Guardian ad Litem on their own, you can ask the court to appoint one by filing a petition. Prior to the hearing, the Guardian ad Litem will meet with you, the minor and any other parties they deem necessary. At the hearing, as long as there are no objections, you will be appointed as the minor’s guardian.
Becoming the guardian of a minor can be a confusing process. We are here to help make the process go smoothly and make sure you meet and understand all necessary requirements. Contact our office today to schedule a meeting.