Publications

Illinois Bar Journal
Articles on Guardians

Credit report security freeze request now allowed for parents and guardians of minors and disabled persons April 2014 Illinois Law Update, Page 168 The Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act has been amended to allow an individual to request a "security freeze" on the credit report of a minor or a disabled person if they meet certain qualifications, and provide proper identification and authority for the request.
I’m a GAL – How Do I Get My Fee? March 2014 Column, Page 150 ISBA lawyers offer advice about what to do when parents can't or won't pay your fees for serving as guardian ad litem of a child.
No guardian ad litem fees for DCFS. PA 098-0089 September 2013 Illinois Law Update, Page 452 Guardianship cases that require the appointment of a guardian ad litem generally require that the petitioner pay for any guardian ad litem fees when the respondent is unable to pay. 755 ILCS 5/11a-10.
New exception to a public guardian’s obligations to a ward. PA 097-1094 April 2013 Illinois Law Update, Page 176 The Probate Act of 1975 has been amended to provide an exception to a public guardian's duty to maintain insurance on the real and personal property belonging to the guardian's ward. 755 ILCS 5/13-5.
Guardianship and Nontraditional Families By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness December 2012 Column, Page 660 Family relationships have evolved, and so have guardianships.
Term extensions to temporary guardianship for disabled adults. PA 097-0614 July 2012 Illinois Law Update, Page 352 An amendment has been made to the Probate Act to allow for the extension of temporary guardianship for disabled adults (755 ILCS 5/11a-4).
Absolute immunity for child reps By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2011 Lawpulse, Page 490 Immunity from liability is absolute for child representatives working within the scope of their court-appointed duties.
2011 Spring Session Legislative Roundup By Jim Covington August 2011 Column, Page 392 A summary of key legislation from this year's session.
Introducing the New and Improved Minor Guardianship Statute By Margaret C. Benson December 2010 Article, Page 628 An important new amendment to the Illinois Probate Act clarifies when nonparents have standing in minor guardianship cases and otherwise honors the rights of parents while protecting children.
ABCs for GALs By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2010 Article, Page 572 You'd like to serve as a GAL, child rep, or attorney for the child - how do you play this important but challenging role? Seasoned lawyers offer dos, don'ts, and tips.
GALS and cross-cultural custody By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2010 Lawpulse, Page 558 For custody disputes involving international and immigrant families, determining what's best for the child can be especially difficult.
Illinois Family Mediations: The Case Against Allowing GALs By Suzanne J. Schmitz November 2010 Article, Page 576 Because their presence may hinder family mediation, GALs should be excluded, the author argues.
Greater security of parental rights regarding appointed guardianship. PA 096-1338 October 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 508 The Probate Act of 1975 has been amended to safeguard parental rights. (755 ILCS 5/11-5)
Procedures for sterilization of a ward. PA 096-0272 August 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 400 The Probate Act of 1975 now provides guidelines regarding consent by guardians for the sterilization of a ward. (755 ILCS 5/11a-17.1). 
Illinois allows guardianship assistance agreements for grandparents and other relatives May 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 236 The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services adopted a new section to its rules regulating state payments to guardians who care for children as foster parents. 
Using guardianship to change school districts? Be wary By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2008 Lawpulse, Page 498 Your client wants his kid to go to New Trier schools? Then he'd better move there or be prepared to pony up $18,000-plus in tuition, an ISBA member advises.
You’ve been appointed GAL-now what? By Helen W. Gunnarsson September 2008 Lawpulse, Page 438 Might you be a minor child's court appointed guardian ad litem? If so, here are some pointers from a colleague who's been there.
Permanency Planning: Protecting Children from the Loss of Their Parents By Sarah Unsicker December 2007 Article, Page 656 How can Illinois parents plan for the possibility that they will die or otherwise not be there for their children? This article reviews the options.
Ex post facto Medicaid “planning” By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Lawpulse, Page 570 May an agent or guardian shift the principal's assets for Medicaid planning purposes after the principal has become disabled? Yes - but doing so can be expensive.
Of Principals and POAs: When Clients Need Protection from Themselves By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2007 Article, Page 580 What can we do for elderly clients who aren't making good financial decisions because they aren't fully competent?
Terminating Guardianships and Returning Children to Parents: Pitfalls and Possibilities By Julie M. Harcum October 2007 Article, Page 542 Is it enough that a parent is "fit, willing, and able," or may a child be returned only if doing so serves his or her "best interest"?
Guardian Ad Litem, Attorney for the Child, Child Representative: How’s the System Working? By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Article, Page 352 Eighteen months ago, Illinois redefined the roles of the GAL, child representative, and attorney for the child. How are courts and lawyers coping with the new system?
So you wanna be a child rep…? By Helen W. Gunnarsson July 2007 Lawpulse, Page 342 How do you get appointed? How much can you earn? What about appointees who don't do the job?
Helping Parents Plan for Children with Special Needs By Kerry R. Peck and D. Rebecca Mitchell February 2007 Article, Page 82 Drafting tips to help lawyers help parents plan, financially and otherwise, for special-needs children.
Standing for Nonparents Seeking Custody or Guardianship of Minors after In re R.L.S. By Roman J. Seckel February 2007 Article, Page 90 The R.L.S. case created differing approaches to standing under the probate act and the IMDMA. The author analyzes the ruling.
When Wards Leave the State, Will Their Guardians’ Authority Be Recognized? By Anthony E. Rothert October 2006 Article, Page 554 If a ward moves or travels to another state, will his or her guardian's power be acknowledged? This article explores this and related questions.
Grandparents, others can petition for guardianship of minors By Helen W. Gunnarsson May 2006 Lawpulse, Page 222 But only if the parent is found unfit, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in In re R.L.S.
Can an incompetent principal revoke a POA? By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2006 Lawpulse, Page 166 A recent fourth district opinion raises this and other questions. 
Probate Act section should be read independently of IMDMA April 2006 Illinois Law Update, Page 174 On February 2, 2006, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, reversing and remanding the Circuit Court of LaSalle County's dismissal of a petition for guardianship of a child. 
Guardianship requirements amended - PA094-0579 October 2005 Illinois Law Update, Page 506 On August 12, 2005, the Probate Act of 1975 (755 ILCS 5) (Act) was modified to specify new conditions under which one may act as a guardian of both the person and the estate.