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Illinois Probate Act 755 ILCS 5/11-8: Petition for Guardian of Minor

When a child’s parents have passed away, or when one neither parent is able to willing to care for a minor, another person can petition the court to be appointed guardian of that child. A guardian is a person who has been to be the child’s representative and to care for the child and his (or her) estate. In a guardianship relationship, the child is referred to as a “ward.” A child is defined as a person who has not attained the age of 18 years. Because of the close relationship that inevitably develops between the guardian and ward and because of the vulnerability of the child with respect to the guardian, 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 and how to petition the court to be named guardian. If you have questions about becoming a guardian, including the requirements of Illinois Probate Act, section 11-8- Petition for guardian of minor, contact a skilled Chicago estate attorney at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.

Petition for Guardian of Minor

Regardless of the relationship of the person to the minor, before someone has the legal right to serve as the minor’s guardian, the person must submit a petition to the Chicago area Probate Court with jurisdiction over the matter. Under Illinois Probate Act, section 11-8- Petition for guardian of minor, the petition must include the following:

  • The child’s name, date of birth, and residence
  • The names and addresses of the child’s nearest relatives including spouse, parents, adult siblings, short-term guardian, and nearest adult relative.
  • The name and address of the person with custody of the child.
  • The approximate value of the child’s personal estate, as well as the amount of the estate’s anticipated gross annual income.
  • The name, address, age and occupation of the proposed guardian.
  • Details of any written designation of guardian, if any, and copy of the written document.
  • Facts related to any juvenile, adoption, parentage, dissolution, or guardianship court pending actions related to the minor or the parents of the minor, including whether any guardian is currently acting for the minor.
  • If the petition seeks the appointment of a previously appointed standby guardian as guardian of the minor, the petition must also include the facts related to the standby guardian's previous appointment and the date of death of the child’s parents or the facts concerning the consent of the minor's parents to the appointment of the standby guardian as guardian.
Who may act as Guardian

As an experienced Chicago estate attorney will explain, there are strict rules as to the qualifications for acting as guardian. Before filing a petition, anyone interested should review make sure they meet the minimum qualifications. Otherwise his or her petition will be dismissed. In order act as a guardian you must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. resident, of sound mind, and you must not have a disability as defined by the Probate Act.

In addition, while the general rules is that convicted felons as disqualified as serving as guardians, there is an exception to this rule. If the court finds appointment of a petitioner who has been convicted of a felony is in the child's best interests, then the court will approve the petition.

Considerations in Appointing a Guardian

In addition to the guardian meeting the qualifications described under Illinois Probate Act, section 11-3- Who may act as guardian, the court must also consider several other factors including the circumstances of the child’s biological, adoptive, or adjudicated parents. Furthermore, if the child is at least 14 years old, the court will also consider his (or her) wishes as to who he wants to serve as guardian.

  • Parents wishes. Parents often indicate in their wills who they would want to serve s their minor children’s guardian if they pass away. The court will look at the will, if any, and give great weight to the parents’ wishes. However, the will or other writing designating a guardian must be witnessed by 2 or more credible witnesses.
  • Child’s wishes. If the minor is at least 14 years old, the child may name his or her preference for guardian. The court must still approve the appointment.
  • Living parent. A court does not have the power to appoint a guardian of a child if the child has a living parent whose rights have not been terminated, whose whereabouts are known, and who is willing and capable to care for the child, except if the parent voluntarily relinquished physical custody of the minor, fails to object to the appointment of a guardian, or consents to the appointment.

Because of the complexities that often accompany the appointment of a guardian of a minor, if you have questions related to the petition process or the qualifications for serving as a guardian of a minor, contact an experienced estate attorney in Chicago.

Related Statutory Provisions

  1. Short-term guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-5.4
  2. Visitation rights: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-7.1
  3. Appointment of standby guardian : Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-5.3
  4. Revocation of letters: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-14.1
  5. Successor guardian: Illinois Probate Act, 755 ILCS 5/11-18
Illinois Probate Act, Section 11-8- Petition for Guardian of Minor

(a) The petition for appointment of a guardian of the estate, or of both the person and estate, of a minor, or for appointment of the guardian of the person only of a minor or minors must state, if known: (1) the name, date of birth and residence of the minor; (2) the names and post office addresses of the nearest relatives of the minor in the following order: (i) the spouse, if any; if none, (ii) the parents, adult brothers and sisters, and the short-term guardian, if any; if none, (iii) the nearest adult kindred; (3) the name and post office address of the person having the custody of the minor; (4) the approximate value of the personal estate; (5) the amount of the anticipated gross annual income and other receipts; (6) the name, post office address and, in case of an individual, the age and occupation of the proposed guardian; (7) the facts concerning the execution or admission to probate of the written designation of the guardian, if any, a copy of which shall be attached to or filed with the petition; and (8) the facts concerning any juvenile, adoption, parentage, dissolution, or guardianship court actions pending concerning the minor or the parents of the minor and whether any guardian is currently acting for the minor. In addition, if the petition seeks the appointment of a previously appointed standby guardian as guardian of the minor, the petition must also state: (9) the facts concerning the standby guardian's previous appointment and (10) the date of death of the minor's parent or parents or the facts concerning the consent of the minor's parent or parents to the appointment of the standby guardian as guardian, or the willingness and ability of the minor's parent or parents to make and carry out day-to-day child care decisions concerning the minor.

If a short-term guardian who has been appointed by the minor's parent or guardian prior to the filing of the petition subsequently petitions for court-ordered guardianship of the minor, the petition shall state the facts concerning the appointment of the short-term guardian, including: (i) the date of the appointment; (ii) the circumstances surrounding the appointment; (iii) the date the short-term guardian appointment ends; and (iv) the reasons why a court-ordered guardian is also needed for the minor. A copy of the short-term guardianship appointment shall be attached to the petition.

(b) A single petition for appointment of only a guardian of the person of a minor may include more than one minor. The statements required in items (1) and (2) of subsection (a) shall be listed separately for each minor.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are considering submitting a petition for guardian of a minor, it is important that you work with an experienced estate attorney serving Chicago who is familiar with the process, including the requirements of the Illinois Probate Act, section 11-8- Petition for guardian of minor. The attorneys 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, and understand the technical and procedural requirements of petitioning the court. Contact an attorney in our office at 855-454-5529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve individuals throughout Chicago.

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