Removing and Replacing a Guardian in Illinois

Removing and Replacing a Guardian in Illinois

By: M. Scott Gordon

Most guardians who are designated by family members or appointed by the court approach their jobs with an honest desire and intent to help the child who is under their care. But there is no real training class to help someone become a good guardian: instead, the guardian must oftentimes make the best decisions he or she can on behalf of the person under their care and learn from the mistakes the guardian is bound to make. But what happens when, despite the guardian’s best intentions, he or she is simply not able to make good decisions on behalf of the child under their care (or worse, what if the guardian is purposefully abusing his or her position and harming the person whom they ought to be helping)?

Guardians Can Be Removed by an Order of the Probate Court 

The court that initially appointed the guardian is able to remove a guardian if there is a sufficient reason to do so. Any individual may file a petition with the court seeking the removal of a guardian. In other words, you do not need to have any particular relationship with the guardian or the person under his or her care in order to file a petition to remove the guardian. The court will remove a guardian if a sufficiently compelling reason is presented and proven. Evidence that the ward or person under the guardian’s care is being physically or mentally abused by the guardian or that the guardian is exploiting his or her position for his or her is usually a sufficient reason justifying the removal of a guardian: conversely, the mere fact that you disagree with the decisions that the guardian is making will not be sufficient.

Supporting Your Petition with Evidence 

The court will thereafter hold a hearing on your petition at which you must present evidence and witness testimony to support your allegation that the guardian should be removed. The guardian him- or herself may be present at this hearing and present evidence and witness testimony to counter your own.

You may need to be creative regarding identifying witnesses and testimony in support of your petition as the child may not be able to testify. Do you believe the guardian is harming the person’s finances? You may need a witness from the bank or banks who can tell the court what is happening. Similarly, doctors and nurses can testify as to the guardian’s inability to make good medical decisions for the person. If your petition is successful, the court will appoint a new guardian to take over for the other guardian.

Scott Gordon & Associates is your Chicago guardianship law firm. We can assist clients who need to establish a new guardianship or modify or dissolve an existing guardianship. Contact either one of our two offices in Chicago or Skokie, Illinois or contact us online for assistance.