Guardians may be appointed for adults who have been legally determined incapable of handling their own personal or financial affairs due to mental illness, mental deterioration, physical incapacity, or other form of recognized disability. There are two types of guardianship appointments. The first is a guardian of the person, who makes decisions about the person’s medical and daily care. The second is a guardian of the estate, who handles the financial affairs of the disabled adult.
Inherent to either type of guardianship appointment is a trust in that person or entity to act in the disabled adult’s best interest, to perform their court ordered duties competently, and to act honestly. In fact, the Illinois Probate Code explicitly states that:
Guardianship shall be utilized only as is necessary to promote the well-being of the person with a disability, to protect him from neglect, exploitation, or abuse, and to encourage development of his maximum self-reliance and independence.
Unfortunately, the legal system is built upon the gap between what should happen and what does happen. Specifically, the probate courts in Illinois sometimes see guardians who act maliciously or who act incompetently in performing their court appointed duties. This violation of trust can cause great detriment to the disabled adult and to the rest of their family.
Replacing a Guardian
Probate courts that appoint guardians also have the discretion to remove and replace those guardians. This can be accomplished by filing a petition to remove the guardian. This means that your first step should be to contact a probate attorney for consultation.
Essentially, to remove a guardian, the court will conduct an evidentiary hearing. At this hearing, you must prove with competent evidence that there is a compelling reason for the probate court to take such action. This can be by proving a violation of fiduciary duty, such as mismanagement of the adult’s estate or stealing; it can be demonstrated by abusive or neglectful conduct toward the adult; or by proving other actions that do not promote the well-being of the adult. In addition to gathering and presenting evidence, it is wise to present the probate court with competent alternative guardians.
Contact an Experienced Probate Attorney
Guardians who act in bad faith hurt everyone and undermine the legal system. If you have concerns about the appointed guardian of a loved one, you should speak with a probate attorney. Contact the Law Office of Robert S. Thomas for a consultation. I will listen to your concerns and give you a no nonsense evaluation of your claim. I have over twenty years of experience in probate law matters. Contact our offices today at 847-392-5893 to schedule a consultation or visit our website today.