Guardianship and Advance Directives

How will your property and money be managed if you are unable to do so yourself?  Who will take care of your children if you cannot do so? These are important questions, particularly if you are living in the U.S. without legal status, or if you travel abroad frequently. Short-term and standby guardianships let you decide who will care for your children before the need arises.

The Law Office of Mary K. Neal can assist clients in establishing guardianships and power of attorney to plan for their future and that of their families.


For one reason or another, parents may find themselves unable to care for their children for a period of time. Illinois law allows a parent to arrange for someone else to be appointed the guardian of a child.

A parent who anticipates needing a guardian for his or her child may arrange a "standby guardian" for the care and upbringing of their children. This multi-step court process will allow a designated person to quickly step in as full legal guardian when need arises.

Short-term Guardianship can also be established for up to one year without court approval. There is a simple form which can be filled out at home. This is useful for brief, planned absences, or to have in place in case of illness, detention or deportation.

Powers of Attorney 

Many circumstances could interfere with your ability to manage your money and property: illness, an extended trip outside the country, or any sort of detention.

A Power of Attorney is a form that grants permission for another individual to act on your behalf. You choose your "agent," who can be a relative, a friend, or any person you trust.  You also choose how much power to give the agent, and when the agent can use that power.  With a Power of Attorney for Property, you can give an agent the power to make certain financial decisions, such those related to a home and bank account.

Most people, and seniors in particular, should take steps now to prepare for future medical care and end-of-life treatment.  A Power of Attorney for Health Care allows an agent to consult with doctors about your health; for example, an agent can step in if you become disabled or mentally impaired.

If you don't know what to do or are unsure of your legal options, contact the Law Office of Mary K. Neal for a consultation.

Self-help Resources

The Law Office Of Mary K. Neal is happy to advise and assist clients with certain short-term Guardianships.

The forms involved are designed to be simple, however, and if you  do not have very complicated family or property needs, you may be capable of completing these processes on your own.

Illinois Legal Aid Online has free informational guides and automated forms available

Illinois Legal Aid Online is an independent non-profit organization and is not affiliated with the Law Office of Mary K. Neal.