Answer: Yes, guardianship is meant to protect the person and property of those who cannot manage for themselves, but it must be used with caution. Guardianship is an extreme form of intervention in the life of a person, because control over personal and/or financial decisions is transferred to someone else for an indefinite, often permanent, period. Once established, it can be extremely difficult to revoke, even if the guardian or the original petitioner believe that guardianship is no longer necessary (Orders of Protection). If the courts require expert testimony to support the revocation of guardianship, experts may be hesitant to certify that the person does not need guardianship. The right to privacy and independence in determining how to manage one’s own affairs is paramount and should be limited or removed only for the gravest cause.
The law requires that guardianship be used only if it will promote the well-being of the person with disabilities and protect the person with disabilities against neglect, exploitation, and abuse, and encourages development of maximum self reliance and independence.
Orders of protection are defined under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, and the Probate Act incorporates the provisions of the IDVA by reference. The Probate Act provides that all IDVA procedures for the issuance, enforcement and recording of orders of protection shall also be available in guardianship cases. Consequently, an order of protection may be joined together with a plenary or temporary petition for adjudication of disability, and a court may enter both orders of protection and orders appointing guardians in the same proceeding.
Janna Dutton, Attorney at Law
Dutton & Casey, P.C.
Chicago, Illinois 60603