In Illinois, there are two main kinds of guardianships: a guardianship of a person and guardianship of an estate. A guardianship of a person involves the ongoing personal, health care, and day-to-day decisions for a disabled individual. A guardianship of an estate involves the care and management of a disabled person's or Minor's property. Since a guardianship of a Minor’s estate has several unique aspects, let's take a closer look at this particular legal process.
Illinois Minor Guardianship Estates
If a Minor receives a large settlement in Illinois, a Minor guardianship estate will typically be required. A Minor could potentially receive a large settlement from a personal injury action, an inheritance, an insurance payout, or a government agency. While small-dollar-amount settlements (under $10,000.00) can usually be handled out of court, larger settlements will likely need a Minor guardianship estate. In fact, many insurance companies and government agencies will refuse to pay out the settlement to the Minor until a formal Minor guardianship estate has been opened in the local guardianship court.
In Minor guardianship estates, the Courts around the greater Chicago area (and likely throughout Illinois), including Kane, DuPage, Will, Kendall, and Cook County, will order all funds to be placed in a restricted account until the Minor turns 18. In order to set up the restricted account at a local financial institution, the account must have language on it that restricts the disbursement of funds without court order until the Minor reaches 18. Once the funds have been placed in the restricted guardianship account, a voucher will have to be filed with the Court to verify the transaction. Also, because Minor guardianship funds are required to be placed in a restricted account, there is usually no need for a surety bond for the Guardian of the Minor estate.
Can distributions be made from a restricted account prior to the Minor turning 18?
Yes, distributions can be made prior to the Minor turning 18. In order to make a distribution from the restricted account, the Guardian of the Minor estate will first need to petition the court regarding the disbursement, and obtain the judge's approval. The petition will need to contain the details of the withdrawal from the Minor’s account and the benefit that will be provided to the Minor with the disbursement.
Are accountings required with Minor guardianship estates?
The requirement to file regular accountings with the court is completely dependent upon the judge and the circumstances of the particular guardianship case. If there are regular distributions being made from the account, then an accounting will likely be required each year. However, if the funds in the account are being conservatively invested and no disbursements are being made throughout the year, ongoing annual accountings may not be necessary. Accountings in Minor guardianship estates are ultimately at the guardianship judge’s discretion.
Contact our Firm
Our firm has helped many individuals with Minor Guardianship estates across the Chicagoland area. If you have questions regarding a Minor Guardianship estate, complete the form below to set up a free initial consultation today!
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