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Guardianship for Individuals with Special Needs in Illinois

Families with special needs members will also want to think about establishing a guardianship over the special needs family member. In Illinois, the two basic types of guardianship are known as “person guardianship” and “estate guardianship”. A "guardian of the person" is appointed by the court when a disabled individual cannot make or communicate responsible decisions regarding his personal care.  The guardian will make decisions about medical treatment, residential placement, and other needs.  The court appoints a "guardian of the estate" when a disabled person is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions regarding the management of his estate or finances.  The guardian will, subject to court supervision, make decisions about the ward's funds and the safeguarding of the ward's income or other assets. In Illinois, this is accomplished in the probate court.

If the person is a minor, a parent has that authority, but once the minor reaches the age of majority, it’s important for parents or other loved ones to become the legal guardian, so that they can consider making those important decisions. The guardianship will also allow the guardian to communicate with doctors and other health care providers about the medical information of the guardian that may otherwise be considered private under HIPAA.

Illinois’s guardianship laws also allow for limited guardians, plenary guardians, and temporary guardians. Limited guardians have the power to make only those decisions about personal care and/or personal finances that the court specifies.  Plenary guardians generally have the power to make all decisions about personal care and/or finances for the disabled person. Temporary guardianships, which only last 60 days, are intended for the immediate protection of the special needs person.


Waypoint Estate and Business Planning assists clients in the greater Chicago area including Lincolnshire, Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Lake Bluff, Grayslake, North Chicago, Lake Forest. Gurnee, Libertyville, Long Grove, Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, Northbrook, Deerfield, Glenview, Naperville, Wheaton, Yorkville, Algonquin, Huntley, Crystal Lake, Winnetka, Hawthorn Woods, Wilmette, Skokie, Wauconda and Wadsworth in Lake County, Cook County, DuPage County and McHenry County, Illinois.



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