Sometimes, when a guardianship case has been opened in one location, it is necessary to move the guardianship to another county, or even another state, due to the relocation of the disabled person or Minor. So, how does the guardianship transfer process work in Illinois? Let’s take a closer look.
Transfer Out-of-County vs. Transfer Out-of-State
The first issue to consider in transferring a guardianship case from one court system to another is to look at whether the move is out of the county, or out of the state.
If a disabled person or Minor is moved from one home or facility to another, and the move happens to cross over county lines, the original guardianship court will usually keep the guardianship case in the original county of residence. This is particularly true in and around the Chicagoland area. However, if the disabled person or Minor is transferred from a county in northern Illinois to a county in southern Illinois, the guardianship case will likely need to be transferred to the new county of residence.
When a disabled person or Minor is moved from one state to another (because of a family move, for instance), the guardianship case will need to be transferred from the original state’s court system to the new state’s court system.
Steps to Transfer a Guardianship in Illinois
In order to properly transfer a guardianship in Illinois, three main steps will need to be followed by the family of the disabled person or Minor. First, a guardianship case will need to be opened in the new county or state before the guardianship case can be closed in the original county or state. This is to ensure that at least one guardianship court will have the authority to make decisions to protect the disabled person or Minor throughout the entire duration of the move. If the transfer involves a disabled person, it is also possible that the new guardianship court will require a current mental evaluation to be completed for the disabled individual.
For the second step in the transfer process, the new guardianship court’s certified order granting guardianship should be filed with the original guardianship court. It is unlikely that the original guardianship judge will approve the closing of the guardianship case in the original county or state (as well as approve the overall transfer) without sufficient evidence that a guardianship case has been opened to protect the disabled person or Minor in the new county or state.
The third, and final, step in the transfer process is to close the guardianship case in the original guardianship court. This must be done to avoid confusion in the future regarding which court has the ultimate authority to make decisions on behalf of the disabled person or Minor. Additionally, if there are estate assets involved in the guardianship case, the original guardianship court will likely require a final accounting to be filed and approved prior to closing the guardianship estate. The new guardianship court will also likely require a current inventory of all estate assets to be filed in the new guardianship case.
Notice of the Guardianship Transfer to Interested Parties
When the guardianship is being transferred, it is also important to notify all interested parties to the guardianship regarding the transfer. (Interested parties are close family, heirs of the estate, and maybe even creditors of the guardianship estate.) The notice is sent to interested parties to keep them informed regarding the current living situation and the current care arrangements for the disabled person or Minor. This notice requirement gives the disabled person or Minor an added layer of protection from family members who may be trying to move the guardianship for reasons that could be detrimental to the disabled person or Minor.
What if a new Guardian is seeking to be appointed through the transfer?
If the role of the Guardian is being transferred from one family member to another through the transfer, there may be additional issues to deal with in the guardianship transfer process. When the new family member seeking to take on the role of Guardian is petitioning the new guardianship court, the new guardianship judge may require the appointment of a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate the background of the case. This could add time to the guardianship transfer process as the new Guardian Ad Litem (or GAL) will have to review the background history of the case and prepare a formal report to the court regarding his/her findings. If, on the other hand, the Guardian will remain the same throughout the transfer process, the guardianship transfer will likely be faster and easier.
If you would like to speak with an experienced Chicagoland area Guardianship attorney regarding your legal matter, give us a call at (630) 898-4789 to set up a free initial consultation.
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