Who Takes Care of the Children after the Death of a Parent

Web Admin - Thursday, November 28, 2013

By: Jay A. Andrew


Determining who becomes guardian of a child in the unfortunate event that their parents pass away is an important decision. While parents have the right to make such decisions during their estate planning process, not everyone makes these preparations, and that leaves the decision of who raises the children up to the court. Illinois law guides the court as well as it can, providing general provisions for who qualifies to become a guardian in the Probate Act of 1975.

How the Judge Chooses a Guardian

Illinois law provides considerable freedom to judges in choosing who assumes guardianship of a minor, although the law does place some general restrictions on the court. The guardian chosen must be over 18, a resident of the United States, not convicted of a felony and of sound mind.

For most judges the question is decided by what is in the minor’s best interests of the minor child. The act often repeats that phrase, “the minor’s best interests,” stating that it should guide the judge’s decisions as to who assumes the role of guardian.

The procedure for the choice of guardian starts with the notification of interested persons, usually close family members, that the court will appoint a guardian. People may then petition the court to act as guardian for the minor, and the court will weigh the evidence and use its judgment to try to determine who can best raise the child. Minors over the age of 14 also have the option to nominate their own guardian, subject to review by the court. While these proceedings can often go smoothly and amicably, they can also be more acrimonious, depending on the family relationships involved.

If you are a parent and haven’t made provisions for guardianship of your children you should consider whether or not you want a judge that has never met you and barely met your child to make the determination of what is in their best interests.

Other complicating factors that an estate planning attorney can help you work through are disabled children, learning disabled children, how to keep all of the children together and how to manage combined families along with many other issues that are part of the modern family.

How to Avoid the Guardianship Proceedings

In order to avoid a drawn-out court battle, parents can take control of the situation. Illinois law gives parents the opportunity to name a guardian during their lifetime either in their will, or in a separate document. While the court still reviews this choice, the parents get much more control over their child’s future if they appoint a guardian. Rather than making the court guess at who would best raise the child, it can take the parents’ preferences into account, only overruling them if it finds “good cause” that the parents’ appointment would not be in the minor’s best interest.

If you are thinking about preparing a Will, or want to ensure the future security of your children, contact a Chicago estate planning lawyer today. We serve many northwest suburban areas including Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Palatine, Rolling Meadows, and other nearby communities.

Recent Posts


manufacturing tax attorney health insurance dispute icy parking lots low-ball insurance settlement Rolling Meadows Attorney Affordable Care Act special needs trust Crystal Lake criminal defense attorney insurance disputes, Illinois insurance disputes, Illinois insurance dispute attorneys, denied insurance claims, Arlington Heights insurance dispute attorneys Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorney Barrington employment attorney Des Plaines injury law firm drug possession Illinois jet ski accident lawyer insurance claim denial digital evidence Palatine Attorney Des Plaines Des Plaines DUI attorney insurance disputes personal injury Schaumburg car accident attorney startup company Inverness probate lawyer trench injuries new real estate form pay when paid contract pizza emoji Deer Park traffic lawyer hit and run accident unpaid assessment expungement living trust vs will Barrington real estate lawyer distracted driving accident victims pain and suffering blended families insurance denials estate planning, digital assets, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, Illinois digital assets, Illinois estate planning, Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers consent to a search fiduciary rule investment property Kenilworth estate planning attorneys Illinois real estate Illinois employment attorneys preventing accidents bad faith insurance claims license reinstatement Illinois small business healthcare claims Illinois medical malpractice attorney foreclosure Schaumburg construction accident lawyer insurance adjusters Arlington Heights Traffic Lawyer Barrington injury attorney breach of contract Palatine insurance lawyer car collision Arlington Heights wills and trusts attorneys meal breaks employment attorney commercial leasing loopholes Schaumburg employment law attorneys Palatine employment law lawyer Crystal Lake tax lawyer Des Plaines drug lawyer Barrington civil litigation attorney Illinois employment law attorneys real estate leasing Mount Prospect elder law attorney Illinois elder law attorney blood alcohol content Palatine punch death Illinois real estate lawyer construction accidents, personal injury, wrongful death, Arlington Heights personal injury attorneys, workers' compensation Schaumburg traffic lawyer nursing home negligence Family Medical Leave Act hands free device income distribution deducation FMLA comparative negligence Inverness injury lawyer bicycle accidents real estate attorneys employment law Rolling Meadows personal injury attorney Kenilworth estate planning lawyer Do Not Resuscitate employees Rolling Meadows real estate attorney Illinois insurance claim attorney anesthesia errors deed transfer homestead rights Illinois defective products attorney Barrington drug crime attorney workers compensation Illinois trusts attorney Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyers Inverness real estate attorney Rolling Meadows marijuana attorney Inverness estate planning lawyer rumble strips Buffalo Grove injury lawyer estate planning, death tax, succession plans, business estate plans, Barrington estate planning lawyers Illinois employment law firm pedestrian injuries, pedestrian fatality Illinois traffic attorneys elder abuse Mount Prospect real estate lawyer Illinois business lawyer Barrington personal injury attorney Illinois lawyer Barrington boating accident attorney Inverness real estate lawyer Arlington Heights injury attorney breathalyzer test Palatine personal injury lawyer rollover accidents Chicago will attorney traffic tickets foreclosed rental property Arlington Heights traffic attorney Illinois employment law attorney Illinois Smoke Detector Act Des Plaines tax law firm Rolling Meadows litigation lawyer real estate contract Crystal lake insurance dispute attorney Crystal Lake traffic attorney Illinois Illinois Sales Representative Act Buffalo Grove personal injury lawyer boating accidents construction contracts wills Illinois wills and trusts attorneys Arlington Heights trucking lawyer Barrington litigation attorney Illinois collections attorney controlled substance Rolling Meadows corporate lawyer Schaumburg license suspension privacy Rolling Meadows car accident lawyers agent probate process car crash injuries probate claims process IRA trust transfer filing a medical malpractice claim irrevocable trust Rolling Meadows insurance lawyer Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyers medical malpractice defective products lawyer insurance dispute Whistleblower Claims Arlington Heights medical malpractice lawyer sole proprietorship Long Grove real estate lawyer South Barrington real estate lawyer Arlington Heights pedestrian accidents Buffalo Grove probate lawyer South Barrington real estate attorney trust payments BAC Barrington business law firm Arlington Heights employment attorney Palatine corporate law attorneys drugs Illinois living will personal injury law firm Illinois workplace lawyer Buffalo Grove criminal defense lawyer involuntary manslaughter Inverness corporate attorney caretaker rights sexual images employment contract Schaumburg elder law lawyer landlord tenant law Palatine civil attorney mass shooting BUI traffic offenses Policy Cancellation Long Grove estate planning attorneys Illinois insurance dispute lawyers Des Plaines personal injury lawyer murder estate planning for college students Palatine criminal defense lawyer workplace sexual harassment Illinois estate planning law firm Rolling Meadows DUI lawyer Illinois will lawyer Arlington Heights accident attorney bicycle dooring accidents business litigation Palatine corporate attorney probate Barrington criminal lawyer first degree murder uninsured motorist underfunded trust insurance attorney FSLA digital information Illinois injury lawyer Illinois personal injury attorney BAIID boating under the influence Illinois speeding lawyer Chicago attorney commercial leases Barrington estate planning attorney federal crimes Illinois personal injury lawyers dog bites ObamaCare Liquor Control Act medical malpractice claims dram shop law wrongful death insurance negligence Mt Prospect Attorney Deer Park DUI lawyer underage DUI motorcycle accident Forcible Entry DGAA condo Barrington employment law attorney DMV Arlington Heights Attorney internet crossover accidents Illinois red light cameras Illinois insurance lawyer civil rights violation employee rights dealing with problem employees Illinois job attorney Illinois DUI attorney IRS paid sick leave Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act forming a corporation in Illinois reckless homicide Palatine business attorney Barrington employment law firm Arlington Heights criminal lawyer Palatine construction attorney Transfer on Death Instrument criminal record traffic violations Chicago traffic lawyer Illinois employee rights attorney. Deer Park traffic accident attorney Chicago lawyer in terrorem provision DUI penalities employee discrimination Super Mario revenge porn insurance claim dispute attorney real estate lawyer Barrington criminal defense lawyer Detainer Actions rent to own real estate contracts federal regulations for LLCs field sobriety test insurance claim delay probate fees surgical mistakes estate planning lawyer Illinois estate planning Rolling Meadows Traffic Lawyer trusts Schaumburg criminal law attorney hiring employees unauthorized overtime car accident lawyers boating DUI Schaumburg estate planning attorney Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyer Schaumburg employment attorney Rolling Meadows insurance attorney power of attorney for healthcare Illinois attorney premises liability Des Plaines claims law firm Des Plaines accident attorney Illinois pedestrian accident attorney School Visitation Rights Act employee misclassification medical research Buffalo Grove medical malpractice lawyers medical malpractice compensation Arlington Heights tax lawyer wrongful termination, employment law, whistleblower protections, Illinois employment laws, discrimination in the workplace Crystal Lake medical malpractice attorneys gift taxes Rolling Meadows employment law attorneys Schaumburg injury lawyer IRA benefits Illinois insurance attorney Illinois wrongful termination lawyer traffic accidents traumatic brain injuries Class A misdemeanor Illinois wills and trusts Schaumburg criminal attorney cell phone suspended license Des Plaines civil attorney Illinois business law atorneys problem employees Chicago insurance law firm Arlington Heights estate planning attorney Buffalo Grove law firm Illinois corporate lawyer Palatine employment attorney small business Des Plaines drug crimes lawyer cell phone tower data marijuana crimes attorney trustee insurance dispute, insurance dispute lawyers, insurance claim denial, insurance claim delays, Rolling Meadows insurance dispute attorneys Deer Park personal injury lawyer Chicago biking tips Chicago employment lawyer Illinois pet lawyer Des Plaines real estate attorney liens Des Plaines Traffic Lawyer condo association Arlington Heights car crash attorneys Illinois probate lawyer advance healthcare directive college kids car accidents Chicago will attorney, social media platforms, Illinois estate planning lawyer, Colin Gilbert Schaumburg estate attorney denied insurance claims marijuana Deer Park criminal attorney institutional trustee preventable medical errors creditors traffic deaths license criminal Thanksgiving real estate Mount Prospect wills and trusts lawyers probate lawyer Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act Palatine estate planning lawyer Crystal Lake injury attorney Rolling Meadows insurance dispute lawyers, insurance dispute Inverness elder law lawyer Illinois employment lawyer PTSD attorney fees Illinois workers compensation attorney installment contracts Chicago estate planning personal injury lawyer Long Grove real estate attorney vacation home fines CAM Rolling Meadows estate planning attorney TBI Chicago insurance claim attorneys pregnant women probate claims guardianship attorney product liability Rolling Meadows probate lawyer unfunded trust Barrington personal injury lawyer rollover car crashes Inverness DUI lawyer Des Plaines medical malpractice attorney Illinois estate planning attorney bike accident Illinois insurance claim dispute lawyer Illinois Human Rights Act Landlord Tenant Ordinance criminal defense underinsured motorist personal injury attorney texting and driving employment lawyer Schaumburg real estate lawyer head on collisions unpaid overtime personal injury claims Barrington Traffic Lawyer workers compensation benefits traffic laws Rolling Meadows personal injury lawyers products liability Crystal Lake accident attorney minimum wage Palatine trusts lawyer Des Plaines personal injury lawyers Illinois insurance claims lawyers Palatine real estate lawyer Palatine civil litigation lawyer Inverness personal injury attorney Crystal Lake bike accident lawyer Illinois personal injury lawyer speeding Arlington Heights wills and trusts lawyer Schaumburg corporate attorney Illinois home inspection holiday statistics estate plan Barrington medical malpractice lawyers sexual harassment Crystal Lake civil litigation lawyer Schaumburg civil litigation attorney personal injury accidents drug crime life insurance lawyer Palatine employment lawyer Illinois traffic laws Rolling Meadows drug defense attorney Crystal Lake insurance lawyer estate planning Rolling Meadows accident lawyer Illinois trucking safety Crystal Lake employment attorney changes to mortgage law Crystal Lake personal injury lawyer contracts Self-Directed IRA Accounts elder law employment law, Illinois employment laws Illinois civil litigation lawyer back injuries compensatory time Schaumburg estate planning lawyer Deer Park workers compensation lawyer Fair Labor Standards Act Palatine workers compensation lawyer modern family estate planning Buffalo Grove traffic lawyers motorcycle accident lawyer Schaumburg personal injury attorney no contest clauses driving residential real estate auto accidents license revocation Arlington Heights TBI attorney pet law Illinois insurance disputes swimming pools Arlington Heights personal injury attorney Illinois personal injury Arlington Heights insurance attorney corporate law insurance claim denials Crystal Lake employment law attorney Chicago estate planning lawyer Illinois Transfer on Death Instrument Rolling Meadows traffic law firm Illinois workers compensation lawyer drug crimes lawyer insurance claims clemency Des Plaines real estate lawyer Rolling Meadows Rolling Meadows medical malpractice lawyers Illinois tax attorney Inverness accident lawyer GM ignition switches caregiver Chicago car accident lawyer deadly crashes Crystal Lake traffic lawyer employment contract, employment law, employment at-will, Deer Park employment law attorneys, contract, Buffalo Grove corporate attorney spinal cord injury Rolling Meadows business lawyer Long Grove wills and trusts attorneys defective products civil litigation attorney digital assets Colin H. Gilbert Illinois driving without license personal injury claim jet ski accidents financial advisors Des Plaines motorcycle accident attorney Fourth of July Illinois Trust Code denial of life insurance Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission wills and trusts whistleblower protections Arlington Heights personal injury lawyer Arlington Heights car accident lawyer wrongful termination Palatine elder law attorney Crystal Lake medical malpractice law firm car accident lawyer Schaumburg insurance lawyers Buffalo Grove real estate attorney Crystal Lake employment lawyer Exclusions Illinois law Des Plaines insurance attorney insurance claim Arlington Heights lawyer Rolling Meadows employment attorney living trust DNR rest breaks Deer Park real estate law firm owner responsibility llinois Real Estate Lawyers Association living wills Barrington Illinois estate planning lawyer Illinois traffic ticket lawyer real estate attorney estate tax Chicago trucking accident attorney drug crimes insurance agent negligence Crystal Lake medical malpractice lawyer life insurance vacation home Palatine drug lawyer real estate zoning Home Sale Contingencies Arlington Heights real estate lawyer child safety wage theft Chicago corporate attorney insurance denial appeals pet bites traumatic brain injury senior citizens Palatine traffic accidents Riverwoods estate planning lawyer Illinois rollover accident lawyers cell phone accidents food poisoning civil litigation Deer Park employment law attorney Rolling Meadows tax attorney Illinois construction accident attorney insurance agents life insurance policy Palatine probate lawyer Illinois criminal defense attorney insurance dispute attorney Deer Park medical malpractice attorney healthcare Inverness civil lawyer Buffalo Grove car accident lawyer Illinois Probate Act of 1975 severance agreements digital assets, digital fiduciary, estate planning, digital content, Long Grove estate planning lawyers DUI Barrington attorney Home Remodeling Repair Act trucking accidents loss of consortium work unions Schaumburg wrongful death attorney ACA comp time Crystal Lake pet attorney Deer Park accident attorney medication errors Crystal Lake car accident lawyer Rolling Meadows employment law attorney Rolling Meadows traffic attorney Crystal Lake estate planning lawyer life insurance claims automated cars slip and fall Schaumburg personal injury lawyer dynasty trusts overtime violations pedestrian-automobile accident real estate closing Buffalo Grove employment lawyer fault based insurance estate planning attorney traffic violations defense trauma after an accident home inspection lawyer privacy laws Buffalo Grove traffic attorney appealing an insurance claim pedestrian accidents Jay Andrew Illinois bicycle safety spinal cord injuries accidental death benefits DUI attorney Illinois traffic attorney Schaumburg Attorney Legal Info slip and fall accidents IRELA Illinois employment law medical malpractice, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, medical mistake, Deer Creek medical malpractice lawyers capital gains tax Retaliatory Discharge Barrington estate planning lawyer subcontractor distracted driving accidents taxes workers comp Illinois medical malpractice claim Kenilworth estate planning attorney Illinois medical malpractice case liability overtime pay operating agreements truck collisions Chicago employment attorney Illinois boating accident lawyer car crashes estate planning trusts car accident Illinois car accident attorney Long Grove estate planning Barrington workers compensation attorney criminal law fiduciary rule delay LLCs golf accidents drunk driving power of attorney job lawyers digital media accounts, estate planning, Arlington Heights estate planning attorney, brain injury ken apicella medical marijuana Illinois medical malpractice lawyers Des Plaines pet law attorney Crystal Lake law firm Arlington Heights employment law attorneys Buffalo Grove insurance claim dispute lawyers Schaumburg probate attorney Palatine law firm living trust benefits drunk driving statistics pedestrian accident social media after death mortgage construction accidents Deer Park motorcycle accident lawyer Illinois workplace discrimination attorney denied insurance claim Schaumburg drug defense lawyer car crash Illinois motorcycle accident lawyer Crystal Lake car accident attorney Illinois traffic accident lawyer Illinois mortgages Des Plaines personal injury attorney POA independent contractor Des Plaines criminal attorney Attorney Ken Apicella DUI defense Illinois employment laws Schaumburg personal injury lawyers Palatine injury attorney Rolling Meadows criminal lawyer Employment Discrimination Law Rolling Meadows criminal attorney traffic crimes Crystal Lake will lawyer texting while driving Illinois registered agent fatal car accidents natural gas Crystal Lake business law attorneys Inverness insurance attorney disability benefits Des Plaines collections attorney personal injury, auto accident injuries, delayed injuries, serious injuries, Des Plaines personal injury attorneys Crystal Lake personal injury attorney Palatine traffic lawyer trucking accident lawyers liability claims Long Grove estate planning attorney Joliet general practice lawyers Rolling Meadows boating crash lawyer eluding a police officer Illinois LLC creation jet ski Buffalo Grove personal injury attorney commercial real estate gift tax exemption, estate planning, estate planning strategies, Illinois estate planning, South Barrington estate planning attorneys insurance claim dispute Inverness traffic law firm estate attorney natural gas explosion Crystal Lake pedestrian accident lawyer murder defense Schaumburg medical malpractice lawyer murder charges right to work landlord employment law, meal breaks, rest breaks, hotel employees, Des Plaines employment law attorneys