New statutory training requirement for guardians
Article XIa of the Probate Act, Guardians for Adults with Disabilities, was amended by P.A. 100-483, § 10, effective September 8, 2018. 755 ILCS 5/11a-12 now provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
(e) The order of appointment of a guardian of the person in any county with a population of less than 3 million shall include the requirement that the guardian of the person complete the training program as provided in Section 33.5 of the Guardianship and Advocacy Act that outlines the responsibilities of the guardian of the person and the rights of the person under guardianship and file with the court a certificate of completion one year from the date of issuance of the letters of guardianship, except that: (1) the chief judge of any circuit may order implementation of another training program by a suitable provider containing substantially similar content; (2) employees of the Office of the State Guardian, public guardians, attorneys currently authorized to practice law, corporate fiduciaries, and persons certified by the Center for Guardianship Certification are exempt from this training requirement; and (3) the court may, for good cause shown, exempt from this requirement an individual not otherwise listed in item (2). For the purposes of this subsection (e), good cause may be proven by affidavit. If the court finds good cause to exempt an individual from the training requirement, the order of appointment shall so state. [emphasis added]
This change applies to guardians of the person (to the exclusion of guardians of the estate) of disabled adults. It also appears to apply prospectively to guardians of the person appointed by orders entered on or after the effective date, September 8, 2019, and not to guardians to whom letters of office were issued prior to the effective date of the Act.
Section 33.5 of the Guardianship and Advocacy Act requires that the state guardian provide a training program that “…outlines the duties and responsibilities of guardians appointed under Article XIa of the Probate Act…and the responsibilities of a guardian and the rights of a person with a disability in a guardianship proceeding…” The guardian is required to file a certificate of completion of the training with the court within one year of the issuance of the guardian’s letters of office.
The statute lists some exceptions, although most lawyers representing individuals seeking guardianships for disabled family members will likely find that their clients do not meet the criteria for being exempt from the requirements. Note that attorneys currently authorized to practice law, as well as corporate fiduciaries, are exempt. A court may, for good cause shown, exempt an individual from the training requirement, however, the order must so state. The statute is silent as to what might constitute good cause.
The training is supposed to be accessible on the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission’s website, https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/gac/Pages/default.aspx, which has a link on the right-hand side of the GAC’s home page to Guardianship Training. As of the writing of this article, if you attempt to access the training in that manner, however, you will not be successful. The author’s office was recently informed by the director of the Office of State Guardian that the presentation part of the program is complete, but they are still in the process of making it accessible to the public in a secure manner online. Currently they are working on what the director referred to as “glitches,” but they hope to have it up and running by the end of March. The following link appears to provide a preview of what the training will consist of, but there is no certification process as of this writing that accompanies this training module https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/gac/OSG/.../GUARDIANSHIP%20TRAINING.ppsx.
William W. Austin, of Counsel
McDevitt, Osteen, Chojnicki & Deters, LLC
127 West Jefferson Avenue
Effingham, Illinois 62401-0507
Phone (217) 342-8060; firstname.lastname@example.org