Guardianship Information

Guardianship Guides

Assessing for Guardianship: 

Guidance and structure for assessning the need for guardianship can be vague. Here are some tools that can be helpful in decision-making: 

Applying for Guardianship: Steps for filing a case for guardianship
Steps outlined by Illinois Legal Aid Online

  1. Gather information
  2. Fill out guardianship forms: Adult guardianship forms may differ depending on your county. Talk to your circuit clerk about where to get the forms.
  3. File the forms (e-filing and paper filing options)
  4. Tell the other parties about your petition
  5. Go to the hearing
  6. Report changes to the court

Applying for Guardianship: Forms for Cook County Residents
All above below can be found at the Circuit Court of Cook Country Adult Guardianship Estates site under "court forms".

    If you are in Cook County, fill out and sign the forms listed below. Make at least 3 copies of each form:

    You need the originals and 1 copy of these forms:

Applying for Guardianship: Financial Assistance for Filing Guardianship Forms

If you do not have money to pay court fees, you can apply for the Application for Waiver of Court Fees: This asks the court to participate in the court case for free if you do not have money to pay the court filing fees.

The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
Post Adoption and Guardianship Services 

Illinois families formed through adoption and guardianship from our foster care system, private and international adoption will find tools and information in one spot designed for their unique needs.

Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission

Statewide general information line: 1-866-274-8023 

Guide to adult guardianship in Illinois (English): This guide answers questions commonly asked about Illinois guardianship for persons with disabilities. If you require more detailed information, please refer to the Probate Act of Illinois or consult an attorney.
Guardianship Fact sheet (English)
Guardianship Fact sheet (Espanol) 
Forms for guardians in Illinois

The National Center on Law and Elder Rights (NCLER)

Provides the legal services and aging and disability communities with the tools and resources they need to serve older adults with the greatest economic and social needs. A centralized, one-stop shop for legal assistance, NCLER provides Legal Training, Case Consultations, and Technical Assistance on Legal Systems Development. Justice in Aging administers NCLER through a contract with the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging. They have created The PRACTICAL Tool: A Decision-Guide for Lawyers and Guardians to support decision-making.

Types of Guardianship:

Two basic types of guardianship:

  1. Person 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. This guardian will make decisions about medical treatment, residential placement, social services and other needs.
  2. Estate guardianship: 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.

Decision-making alternatives: 

  • Supported decision-making agreements: A person with IDD makes their own decisions but chooses what types of decisions they want help to make and who they want to help them. Here is an example around making health care decisions.
  • Limited powers of attorney: A person with IDD chooses who they want to make decisions for them. The authority is only for a certain decision or only for a certain amount of time.
  • Durable powers of attorney: These legal documents say who a person wants to make decisions if a time comes when they cannot make their own decisions. These documents put in place a process for what should happen before an emergency or change in decision-making ability occurs.
  • Advance directive for health care decisions: These legal documents say what life-saving treatment a person wants or does not want to receive. These documents also say who can make health care decisions if the person cannot.

Legal Assistance

See "Advocacy & Guardianship Attorneys" section