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


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