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 Minor Info Sheet 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, including important court documents and procedures. 

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.

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 and filed before you appear in court.

Guardianship Terms & Definitions

  • Who is a Minor?: A minor is a person under the age of 18 years old.
  • Guardian of the Person: A minor needs a guardian of his/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/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 two 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.


To Be the Guardian of a Minor's Person:

  1. At least 18 years old
  2. A resident of the United States
  3. Of sound mind and under no legal disability
  4. Not convicted of a felony involving a minor, elderly, or disabled person
  5. Found capable of providing an active and suitable program of guardianship by the court

To Be the Guardian of an Estate or Person:

One person may be appointed guardian of the person and another person appointed guardian of the estate.

A petition for guardianship of the person of a minor should be filed in Probate Court only when the person seeking guardianship is not a legal parent. On the other hand, a legal parent may be named to serve as guardian of the estate of a minor.

For More Information

For information about legal services, contact:

  • Lake County Bar Association Legal Referral Service: 847-244-3140
  • Prairie State Legal Services: 847-662-6925