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General Civil

Duty of Guardians

When a person is unable to look after his or her own affairs, a court will often appoint a guardian. The two basic kinds of guardian are a guardian of the person and a guardian of the estate.

The job of the guardian of the person is to take care of the ward by (1) deciding where the ward lives, (2) seeing that the ward is fed and clothed and that he or she receives medical care, and (3) helping the ward be independent, as far as he or she is able. Although not responsible for paying for the ward's needs from the guardian's own pocket, the guardian must seek any assets that are needed from the ward's assets. These assets are managed by the guardian of the estate. The guardian of the estate is responsible for determining what assets the ward has, reporting these assets to the court, and then managing the ward's financial affairs for the ward's benefit. Often, this involves seeking public assistance (such as Social Security or Medicaid) for the ward.

Most guardianships continue until the court brings them to an end, and guardians are subject to the control of the court that appoints them. However, in every case, the guardian's paramount duty is to the ward. A guardian of the person will be held strictly responsible for the ward's well-being, while a guardian of an estate must manage the ward's assets with great care--solely for the ward's benefit--and is limited in the kinds of investments he or she can make.

A guardian assumes important responsibilities toward his or her ward. Given the importance of these obligations, it is usually wise for a guardian to seek experienced legal help.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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