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


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