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


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