Estate Planning | Living Wills | Guardianship | Power of Attorney

Court Defines the Duties of an Estate Guardian

Simply put, the "estate" of a person is everything he or she owns. It includes land, investments, bank accounts, furniture, cars, clothing and collectibles. Frequently, a person who has been named by the court as a legal guardian for another person also is appointed the person's estate guardian.

In general, the estate guardian's duty is to manage the person's estate in a way that is frugal, conservative and cautious. Illinois law binds estate guardians as follows:

  • Estate Guardians must receive written permission from the court to sell any of the ward's property to pay for the ward's care.
  • An Estate Guardian should open an FDIC fully-insured checking account, with the ward's social security number on the account, to pay for his or her expenses.
  • An Estate Guardian will not be personally liable for the ward's debts; however, he or she can be forced to pay for any mismanagement or fraudulent use of the ward's estate.
  • Estate Guardians are not legally protected by getting the ward's consent on an expenditure.
  • An Estate Guardian may not remove any of the ward's property outside the State of Illinois.
  • An Estate Guardian must file an inventory of the person's assets, usually within 60 days of your appointment as Estate Guardian.
  • If an Estate Guardian discovers additional assets after the initial inventory is filed, a supplemental inventory list must be filed within 60 days.
  • An Estate Guardian cannot sell, lease, mortgage or use as security the ward's land, house, car or other property without the court's consent.
  • An Estate Guardian is required to keep a careful record of all transactions involving the ward's property and usually is required by the court to submit a report periodically.

Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.

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