Guardianship of Minors


Many people appear before the court seeking to be appointed as guardians for minor children, without the assistance of an attorney.

Review the Guardianship of Minors Handbook (PDF) to learn about all of the regulations and procedures in place. This guide is designed to inform prospective guardians of the requirements for obtaining and terminating a guardianship. This guide also explains the important duties and responsibilities of court-appointed guardians.

The proper forms for obtaining a guardianship are available in the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. The forms must be filled out before you appear in court.

This guide is intended to answer general questions about a guardianship. There are alternative forms of guardianship available. To obtain information on alternative forms of guardianship or if you need legal advice, you should consult an attorney.

Minor Terms & Definitions

  • Who Is a Minor?: A minor is a person under the age of 18.
  • Guardian of the Person: A minor needs a guardian of his or her person when the minor has no living parents, when the parents cannot be found, or when the parents are unable or unwilling to care for the minor.
  • Guardian of the Estate: A minor needs a guardian of his or her estate when he or she has, or is about to receive, any money or property with a value of at least $5,000 (such as from insurance, from an inheritance, or from the settlement of a personal injury case). A guardianship of the estate is not needed if the only asset of the minor is the right to collect social security benefits.
  • Family and Divorce Court Issues: Probate Court is not the proper court for the determination of custody rights between the 2 legal parents of a minor child. If the legal parents are divorced from one another, or if they were never married to each other, custody proceedings between them take place either in Family Court or in Divorce Court.

For More Information

For information about legal services you can contact:
  • Lake County Bar Association Legal Referral Service: 847-244-3140
  • Prairie State Legal Services: 847-662-6925