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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/11-13: Duties of Guardian of a Minor

If a minor (someone under the age of 18) has no living parents, has parents who cannot be found, or has parents who are unable or unwilling to care for the minor, then the state will step in appoint a guardian for that minor. The role of a guardian is the care of the minor and/or the minor’s property. Because of the close relationship that inevitably develops between the guardian and ward, it is important that care is taking in determining who is to serve in the role. Illinois law has rules related to who is qualified to act as a guardian. The process of establishing guardianship is initiated by a person seeking to be named guardian filing a petition with the Probate Court in the county in which the child resides, or the county in which the child has a real or personal estate. If you are interested in filing a petition with the Probate Court to be appointed guardian of a minor, contact a skilled Chicago estate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates who understands the legal requirements of becoming a guardian as well as the responsibilities, as described in Illinois Probate Act, section 11-13- Duties of guardian of a minor.

Who may act as Guardian

Many believe that to be appointed guardian you only need to be a relative of the minor or someone who cares about the child. This is not the case. Under Illinois law, in order to be the guardian of a child you must be: a) at least 18 years of age; b) a United States citizen; c) of sound mind and under no legal disability; and d) not a convicted felon. However, in its discretion, the Probate Court may make an exception to the rule that the person cannot be convicted felon. If you have questions or concerns about the qualification for becoming a guardian, contact an experienced Chicago estate lawyer.

Responsibilities of a Guardian

There are two types of guardians: guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.

Responsibilities of a guardian of the person. A guardian of the person, must make arrangements for the minor’s care, comfort, health, and education consenting to any medical care or treatment the minor may need. In addition, upon the approval of the court, the guardian of a child may remove the child from Illinois if it is in the best interests of the child.

Responsibilities of a guardian of the estate. A guardian of the estate is responsible for caring for, managing, and investing the child’s estate. The guardian makes decisions relating to the minor’s comfort, support, and education. As explained in Illinois Probate Act, section 11-13- Duties of guardian of a minor, the guardian must manage the child’s estate frugally and must apply the income and principal of the estate so far as necessary for the comfort, support, and education of the ward. The rules that the guardian of the estate must follow include:

  • Inventory. File an inventory with the court within 60 days after the guardian is appointed. The inventory must list all of the minor’s assets. The requirement for filing an inventory is excused if all of the minor’s money has been deposited in an account subject to withdrawal only by court order.
  • Certificate of depository. The guardian must file a Certificate of Depository, if money is deposited in a financial account that is subject to withdrawal only by court order.
  • Petition to withdraw money. The guardian must file a petition to withdraw money, if the child’s money is deposited in an account subject to withdrawal only by court order. The guardian may only withdraw money for the child’s needs. The judge will require that you submit receipts, estimates or other back-up documentation of the expenses.
  • Annual accounting. The guardian must file an account with the court annually, showing all money received and spent. The court must approve the accounting.

If you have questions related to the required filings and court approvals, contact an experienced estate lawyer in Chicago who understand the procedures related to guardianships.

Related Statutory Provisions

  1. Appointment of standby guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-5.3
  2. Duties of standby guardian of a minor: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-13.1
  3. Duties of short-term guardian of a minor: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-13.2
  4. Reliance on authority of guardian, standby guardian, short-term guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-13.3
  5. Revocation of letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-14.1
  6. Successor guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-18
Illinois Probate Act, Section 11-13- Duties of Guardian of a Minor

Before a guardian of a minor may act, the guardian shall be appointed by the court of the proper county and, in the case of a guardian of the minor's estate, the guardian shall give the bond prescribed in Section 12-2. Except as provided in Section 11-13.1 and Section 11-13.2 with respect to the standby or short-term guardian of the person of a minor, the court shall have control over the person and estate of the ward. Under the direction of the court:

(a) The guardian of the person shall have the custody, nurture and tuition and shall provide education of the ward and of his children, but the ward's spouse may not be deprived of the custody and education of the spouse's children, without consent of the spouse, unless the court finds that the spouse is not a fit and competent person to have such custody and education. If the ward's estate is insufficient to provide for the ward's education and the guardian of his person fails to provide education, the court may award the custody of the ward to some other person for the purpose of providing education. If a person makes a settlement upon or provision for the support or education of a ward and if either parent of the ward is dead, the court may make such order for the visitation of the ward by the person making the settlement or provision as the court deems proper. The guardian of the minor shall inform the court of the minor's current address by certified mail, hand delivery, or other method in accordance with court rules within 30 days of any change of residence.

(b) The guardian or other representative of the ward's estate shall have the care, management and investment of the estate, shall manage the estate frugally and shall apply the income and principal of the estate so far as necessary for the comfort and suitable support and education of the ward, his children, and persons related by blood or marriage who are dependent upon or entitled to support from him, or for any other purpose which the court deems to be for the best interests of the ward, and the court may approve the making on behalf of the ward of such agreements as the court determines to be for the ward's best interests. The representative may make disbursement of his ward's funds and estate directly to the ward or other distributee or in such other manner and in such amounts as the court directs. If the estate of a ward is derived in whole or in part from payments of compensation, adjusted compensation, pension, insurance or other similar benefits made directly to the estate by the Veterans Administration, notice of the application for leave to invest or expend the ward's funds or estate, together with a copy of the petition and proposed order, shall be given to the Veterans' Administration Regional Office in this State at least 7 days before the hearing on the application. The court, upon petition of a guardian of the estate of a minor, may permit the guardian to make a will or create a revocable or irrevocable trust for the minor that the court considers appropriate in light of changes in applicable tax laws that allow for minimization of State or federal income, estate, or inheritance taxes; however, the will or trust must make distributions only to the persons who would be entitled to distributions if the minor were to die intestate and the will or trust must make distributions to those persons in the same amounts to which they would be entitled if the minor were to die intestate.

(c) Upon the direction of the court which issued his letters a representative may perform the contracts of his ward which were legally subsisting at the time of the commencement of the guardianship. The court may authorize the guardian to execute and deliver any bill of sale, deed or other instrument.

(d) The representative of the estate of a ward shall appear for and represent the ward in all legal proceedings unless another person is appointed for that purpose as representative or next friend. This does not impair the power of any court to appoint a representative or next friend to defend the interests of the ward in that court, or to appoint or allow any person as the next friend of a ward to commence, prosecute or defend any proceeding in his behalf. Any proceeding on behalf of a minor may be commenced and prosecuted by his next friend, without any previous authority or appointment by the court if the next friend enters bond for costs and files it in the court where the proceeding is pending. Without impairing the power of the court in any respect, if the representative of the estate of a minor and another person as next friend shall appear for and represent the minor in a legal proceeding in which the compensation of the attorney or attorneys representing the guardian and next friend is solely determined under a contingent fee arrangement, the guardian of the estate of the minor shall not participate in or have any duty to review the prosecution of the action, to participate in or review the appropriateness of any settlement of the action, or to participate in or review any determination of the appropriateness of any fees awarded to the attorney or attorneys employed in the prosecution of the action.

(e) Upon petition by any interested person (including the standby or short-term guardian), with such notice to interested persons as the court directs and a finding by the court that it is in the best interest of the minor, the court may terminate or limit the authority of a standby or short-term guardian or may enter such other orders as the court deems necessary to provide for the best interest of the minor. The petition for termination or limitation of the authority of a standby or short-term guardian may, but need not, be combined with a petition to have a guardian appointed for the minor.

(f) The court may grant leave to the guardian of a minor child or children to remove such child or children from Illinois whenever such approval is in the best interests of such child or children. The guardian may not remove a minor from Illinois except as permitted under this Section and must seek leave of the court prior to removing a child for 30 days or more. The burden of proving that such removal is in the best interests of such child or children is on the guardian. When such removal is permitted, the court may require the guardian removing such child or children from Illinois to give reasonable security guaranteeing the return of such children.

The court shall consider the wishes of the minor's parent or parents and the effect of removal on visitation and the wishes of the minor if he or she is 14 years of age or older. The court may not consider the availability of electronic communication as a factor in support of the removal of a child by the guardian from Illinois. The guardianship order may incorporate language governing removal of the minor from the State. Any order for removal, including one incorporated into the guardianship order, must include the date of the removal, the reason for removal, and the proposed residential and mailing address of the minor after removal. A copy of the order must be provided to any parent whose location is known, within 3 days of entry, either by personal delivery or by certified mail, return receipt requested.

Before a minor child is temporarily removed from Illinois for more than 48 hours but less than 30 days, the guardian shall inform the parent or parents of the address and telephone number where the child may be reached during the period of temporary removal and the date on which the child shall return to Illinois. The State of Illinois retains jurisdiction when the minor child is absent from the State pursuant to this subsection. The guardianship order may incorporate language governing out-of-state travel with the minor.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The responsibilities of a guardian can be significant. It is important that anyone who petitions the court to be appointed guardian understand what is to be expected of him or her. The experienced estate attorneys serving Chicago at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience representing clients in estate matters before the Illinois Probate Court, including matters relating to guardianships. We are here to ensure that you understand the what Illinois law requires of guardians, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 11-13- Duties of guardian of a minor. Contact an attorney in our office attorneys at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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