Rep. Breen’s Bill that Protects Estate Plans for Disabled Seniors Signed into Law

Gov. Bruce Rauner (seated) signs SB90 as Rep. Peter Breen,
(R-Lombard); Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago); Jim Ryan,
Glen Ellyn/Wheaton probate attorney; and Dan Belko,
office of the Cook County Public Guardian look on.
Hailing the “bipartisan approach” taken by State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard), Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law yesterday a measure that will protect disabled senior citizens from being victimized by scammers who try to talk them into changing their wills for personal gain. Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) carried the bill in the Senate.

SB90, now known as Public Act 99-0302provides for judicial oversight in cases where individuals who have been determined by the courts as no longer being of sound mind and memory seek to amend their wills. “Sadly, there are scam-artists out there who wish to prey on the elderly by coercing them to change their wills to redirect financial and other assets away from their loved ones and toward themselves,” said Breen. “This kind of victimization is an attack on a vulnerable segment of our population, and PA 99-0302will add a critical new layer of oversight that should help ensure that our disabled elderly are protected from wrongdoing in their estate plans.”

The law was inspired by the experiences of area judges and attorneys who specialize in probate and estate. “Probate judges have seen repeated instances where seniors have been exploited by guardians or appointed agents who have talked them into altering their estate plans,” Breen said. “This new law amends the Probate Act to allow a court to appoint an attorney to assist disabled seniors who truly wish to amend their wills. Undue influence is removed, and those under the care of the courts can be sure that the fruits of their lifetime of labor are not diverted away from their loved ones and into the hands of predators.”

Breen credited the passing of the new law to a bipartisan, collaborative effort that he employed to bring together legislators of both parties behind the measure, along with probate judges from Cook and DuPage Counties, DuPage County probate attorneys, the Cook County Public Guardian’s office, and the Illinois State Bar Association.