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20 New Illinois Laws to Know for 2015

2015 new laws

Happy New Year!

As the new year rings in, so do new Illinois laws taking affect. Roughly 220 new Illinois laws went into effect on January 1, 2015.

Most are mundane and relatively uninteresting. But there are quite a few noteworthy new laws this year. Briefly summarized below (with links to the statute) are some important or interesting new laws.

Highlighted new estate planning and probate laws

Over the past few months, I’ve written in detail about these first three important new laws effecting estate planning and probate:

1. New Illinois Law Questions Bequests to Non-Family Caregivers. Public Act 098-1093 presumptively voids testamentary transfer instruments exceeding $20,000 in favor of non-family caregivers.

2. New Illinois Small Estate Affidavit Coming in 2015. Public Act 098-0836 amends the Illinois small estate affidavit in several respects, including the listing and classification of unpaid claims.

3. Illinois Power of Attorney for Health Care Gets Makeover in 2015. Public Act 098-1113 provides a major overhaul of the Illinois statutory Power of Attorney for Health care form including a new FAQ-styled notice, additional witness and agent restrictions and revised options for expressing life-sustaining treatment wishes.

More new trusts, estates, guardianship, disability and health laws

These next seven are additional Illinois statutory changes effecting trusts, estates, guardianship, disability and health:

4. Transfer on Death Instrument (TODI) cleanup. Public Act 098-0821 makes several changes and clarifications to the TODI statute: (1) Clarifies that acceptance of a TODI by the beneficiary during an owner’s lifetime is not required; (2) Acceptance after death by recording a notice of death affidavit is now permissive rather than mandatory to perfect title; (3) A bona fide purchaser for value without notice of a legal action takes the property free and clear; (4) An agent under a POA cannot create or revoke a TODI, but may sell, transfer, or encumber a property subject to a TODI if authorized under the POA; and (5) Substantial, rather than precise, compliance with the execution formalities is required.

5. Virtual Representation expanded. Public Act 098-0946 expands the availability of so-called virtual representation agreements that allows trustees and beneficiaries to enter into certain types of binding agreements without court approval.  Here is a good summary from McDermott, Will and Emery.

6. DNR/POLST form updated. Public Act 098-1110 revises the ‘Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (“POLST”) form and expands the types of health care professionals who can execute the form in consultation will seriously ill patients. To learn more, visit the POLST Illinois website.

7. Minor moving out of state and short-term guardians. Public Act 98-1082 allows guardianship orders to incorporate language governing removal of a minor from the state so that removal can be addressed in the order, when appropriate, and not require a separate court proceeding. It also amends the Probate Act to create a rebuttable presumption in favor of an appointed short-term guardian.

Allows guardianship orders to incorporate language governing removal of a minor from the state so that, if the situation is appropriate, removal can be addressed in the order and not require a separate court proceeding. Also amends the Probate Act to create a preference for a short-term guardian to be appointed. – See more at:
Allows guardianship orders to incorporate language governing removal of a minor from the state so that, if the situation is appropriate, removal can be addressed in the order and not require a separate court proceeding. Also amends the Probate Act to create a preference for a short-term guardian to be appointed. – See more at:

8. Adult disabled guardian appointment. Public Act 98-1094 amends the procedure for adjudication of disability by requiring contact information of the reporting physician and emphasizing that the paramount concern is the best interests and well-being of the alleged disabled person.

9. Financial exploitation of elderly or disabled person. Public Act 098-0833 expands the section of the Probate Act (755 ILCS 5/2-6.2 and 6.6) that serves to disinherit persons who financially exploit an elderly person. The prior law required a criminal conviction for the statute to apply. Under the amended law, persons who are found civilly liable for financial exploitation are also excluded from inheriting.

10. Statutes of limitation for disabled persons. Public Act 098-1077 stays the limitation periods for civil actions until a person’s legal disability is removed if a person is not under a legal disability at the time the cause of action accrues but becomes legally disabled before the limitation period expires. These change applies only to actions commenced or pending on or after January 1, 2015 and does invalidate certain ‘statutes of repose.’

Select new laws for individuals, families and business owners

Finally, ten more select new Illinois laws that I think are interesting or notable for individuals, families and business owners:

11. Spousal maintenance guidelines. Public Act 098-0961 is a major overhaul for the determination of spousal maintenance (alimony) in dissolution proceedings for those with combined gross incomes under $250,000. The new law provides for a specific mathematical formula based on the spouses’ gross incomes and length of marriage.

12. Employment and pregnancy discrimination. Public Act 098-1050 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to prohibit unlawful discrimination by an employer based on pregnancy and to require reasonable accommodation to job applicants and employees for issues relating to pregnancy and childbirth.

13. Pre-interview criminal background checks banned. Public Act 098-0774 is the so-called “Ban The Box” law that prevents certain employers from inquiring into an applicant’s criminal history. Forbes Article on “Ban The Box.’

14. Notice for abandoned storage units. Public Act 98-1106 provides new provisions for e-mail notice to storage unit owners prior to sale of abandoned property. For the e-mail notice to be effective, the storage owner must have provided the e-mail address and the notice must include a ‘read receipt’ that is confirmed as received.

15. Shrinking civil juries; expanding jury pay.Public Act 098-1132 (eff. 6-1-15) reduces jury size for civil cases from 12 to 6 and increases jury duty pay to $25 for the first day, and $50 for each day thereafter.

Adds to the false personation statute, including anyone who knowingly and falsely represents themselves as the legal guardian, including any representative of a State or public guardian, of a disabled person. – See more at:

16. Sales tax on car leases. Public Act 098-0628 changes the way sales tax is calculated when an auto is leased. The past structure imposed tax as if the vehicle was bought outright. The new tax is based on what is leased and should lower the cost of leasing, in line with the way most states tax auto leases.

17. Residential real property disclosure – windows and doors. Public Act 98-0754 amends the Residential Real Property Disclosure Act to add material defects in windows and doors to the list of disclosures required under the Act.

18. Sign and Drive; and Drive Faster. Public Act 098-0870 amends the Illinois Vehicle Code to provide that drivers no longer need to post bond (i.e. give up driver’s license) for petty traffic violations. News Article on ‘Sign and Drive.’  Public Act 098-1128 increases the speed limit to 70mph for all highways under the Toll Highway System (unless a local county opts-out).

19. Bank checking accounts. Public Act 098-0950 eliminates the requirements that bank checks display the month and year the account was opened and begin with check number 101

20. Parental liability for underage drinking. Public Act 98-1017 expands potential parental liability for underage drinking at the parent’s residence to further include automobiles, boats, campers, airplanes and other vehicles.  

One final note: it’s not a new law, but the 2011 law that increased the Illinois income tax to 5% is now expired, meaning that the rate is back to 3.75%…at least for now.

If you want to read up on all (220!?) of the new Illinois laws, here is a chart of all of the new Illinois laws taking effect 1-1-15.

Image courtesy of Miles