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Illinois Compiled Statutes

Information maintained by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Updating the database of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (ILCS) is an ongoing process. Recent laws may not yet be included in the ILCS database, but they are found on this site as Public Acts soon after they become law. For information concerning the relationship between statutes and Public Acts, refer to the Guide.

Because the statute database is maintained primarily for legislative drafting purposes, statutory changes are sometimes included in the statute database before they take effect. If the source note at the end of a Section of the statutes includes a Public Act that has not yet taken effect, the version of the law that is currently in effect may have already been removed from the database and you should refer to that Public Act to see the changes made to the current law.

ESTATES
(755 ILCS 5/) Probate Act of 1975.

755 ILCS 5/Art. IV

 
    (755 ILCS 5/Art. IV heading)
ARTICLE IV
WILLS

755 ILCS 5/4-1

    (755 ILCS 5/4-1) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-1)
    Sec. 4-1. Capacity of testator.) Every person who has attained the age of 18 years and is of sound mind and memory has power to bequeath by will the real and personal estate which he has at the time of his death.
(Source: P.A. 80-808.)

755 ILCS 5/4-2

    (755 ILCS 5/4-2) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-2)
    Sec. 4-2. Testamentary powers of appointment. This Section applies only to powers of appointment exercisable by a will.
    (a) Capacity of holder of power. A power of appointment under a will which is not subject to an express condition that it may be exercised only by a holder of a greater age may be exercised by a holder who has attained the age of 18 years.
    (b) Manner of exercise of power. Unless the contrary intent is evidenced by the terms of the instrument creating or limiting a power of appointment, a donee of a power of appointment may (1) make appointments of present or future interests or both; (2) make appointments with conditions and limitations; (3) make appointments with restraints on alienation upon the appointed interests; (4) make appointments of interests to a trustee for the benefit of one or more objects of the power; (5) make appointments that create in the object of the power additional powers of appointment to permissible objects of the power of appointment pursuant to which such powers are created; and (6) if the donee could appoint outright to the object of a power, make appointments that create in the object of the power additional powers of appointment and such powers of appointment may be exercisable in favor of such persons or entities as the person creating such power may direct, even though the objects of such powers of appointment may not have been permissible objects of the power of appointment pursuant to which such powers are created.
    (c) Disposition of trust property subject to power. In disposing of trust property subject to a power of appointment exercisable by will, a trustee acting in good faith shall have no liability to any appointee or taker in default of appointment for relying upon a will believed to be the will of the donee of the power of appointment, for assuming that there is no will in the absence of actual knowledge thereof within 3 months after the death of the donee, or for requiring that any will purporting to exercise a power of appointment be admitted to probate. The trustee's action in accordance with the preceding sentence shall not affect the rights of any appointee or taker in default of appointment to recover the distributed property from any person to whom the trustee shall have made distribution.
    (d) Applicability. This amendatory Act of 1995 shall be construed as being declarative of existing law and shall apply to all instruments granting general and special powers of appointment and all wills exercising those powers, whether existing or exercised before, on, or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995, except that no trustee shall be liable to any person in whose favor a power of appointment may have been exercised for any distribution of property made to persons entitled to take in default of the effective exercise of the power of appointment to the extent that the distribution shall have been completed prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1995.
(Source: P.A. 89-364, eff. 8-18-95.)

755 ILCS 5/4-3

    (755 ILCS 5/4-3) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-3)
    Sec. 4-3. Signing and attestation.
    (a) Every will shall be in writing, signed by the testator or by some person in his presence and by his direction and attested in the presence of the testator by 2 or more credible witnesses.
    (b) A will that qualifies as an international will under the Uniform International Wills Act is considered to meet all the requirements of subsection (a).
(Source: P.A. 86-1291.)

755 ILCS 5/4-4

    (755 ILCS 5/4-4) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-4)
    Sec. 4-4. Testamentary additions to trusts.) By a will signed and attested as provided in this Act a testator may bequeath or appoint real and personal estate to a trustee of a trust evidenced by an instrument, including the will of another who predeceases the testator, which is in existence when the testator's will is made and which is identified in the testator's will, even though the trust is subject to amendment, modification, revocation or termination. Unless the testator's will provides otherwise, the estate so bequeathed or appointed shall be governed by the terms and provisions of the instrument creating the trust, including any amendments or modifications in writing made at any time before or after the execution of the testator's will and before, or after if the testator's will so directs, the death of the testator. The existence, size or character of the corpus of the trust is immaterial to the validity of the bequest. If the trust is terminated prior to the testator's death by revocation of the trust or by revocation of that portion of the instrument creating the trust, the bequest or appointment shall take effect according to the terms and provisions of the instrument creating the trust as they existed at the time of the termination, unless the testator's will otherwise provides.
(Source: P.A. 80-759.)

755 ILCS 5/4-5

    (755 ILCS 5/4-5) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-5)
    Sec. 4-5. Insurance and death benefits payable to testamentary trustee.) A person having the right to designate a beneficiary of benefits payable under any insurance, annuity or endowment contract (including any agreement issued or entered into by an insurance company in connection therewith, supplemental thereto or in settlement thereof), or the right to designate the beneficiary of benefits payable upon or after the death of a person under any pension, retirement, death benefit, deferred compensation, employment, agency, stock bonus or profit sharing contract, plan, system or trust, may designate as a beneficiary a trustee named or to be named in his will whether or not the will is in existence at the time of the designation. The benefits received by the trustee shall be held and disposed of as part of the trust estate under the terms of the will. If no qualified trustee makes claim to the benefits within 18 months after the death of the decedent or if within that period it is established that no trustee can qualify to receive the benefits, payment shall be made to the representative of the estate of the person making the designation, unless it is otherwise provided by a beneficiary designation or by the policy or other controlling agreement. The benefits received by the trustee shall not be subject to claims or other charges enforceable against the estate or to estate or inheritance taxes (including interest and penalties thereon) to any greater extent than if the benefits were payable to a named beneficiary other than the estate of the person making the designation, and in the case of benefits which otherwise qualify for exclusion from the gross estate for federal estate tax purposes, such benefits shall not be used by or for the benefit of the estate of the decedent.
(Source: P.A. 79-328; 79-711; 79-1454.)

755 ILCS 5/4-6

    (755 ILCS 5/4-6) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-6)
    Sec. 4-6. Beneficiary or creditor as witness.) (a) If any beneficial legacy or interest is given in a will to a person attesting its execution or to his spouse, the legacy or interest is void as to that beneficiary and all persons claiming under him, unless the will is otherwise duly attested by a sufficient number of witnesses as provided by this Article exclusive of that person and he may be compelled to testify as if the legacy or interest had not been given, but the beneficiary is entitled to receive so much of the legacy or interest given to him by the will as does not exceed the value of the share of the testator's estate to which he would be entitled were the will not established.
    (b) No individual or corporation is disqualified to act or to receive compensation for acting in any fiduciary capacity with respect to a will of a decedent by reason of the fact that any employee or partner of such individual or any employee or shareholder of such corporation attests the execution of the will or testifies thereto. No attorney or partnership of attorneys is disqualified to act or to receive compensation for acting as attorney for any fiduciary by reason of the fact that the attorney or any employee or partner of the attorney or partnership attests the execution of the will or testifies thereto.
    (c) If real or personal estate is charged with any debt by a will and the creditor whose debt is so secured attests the execution of the will, the creditor may testify to its execution.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/4-7

    (755 ILCS 5/4-7) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-7)
    Sec. 4-7. Revocation - revival.) (a) A will may be revoked only (1) by burning, cancelling, tearing or obliterating it by the testator himself or by some person in his presence and by his direction and consent, (2) by the execution of a later will declaring the revocation, (3) by a later will to the extent that it is inconsistent with the prior will or (4) by the execution of an instrument declaring the revocation and signed and attested in the manner prescribed by this Article for the signing and attestation of a will.
    (b) No will or any part thereof is revoked by any change in the circumstances, condition or marital status of the testator, except that dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of the marriage of the testator revokes every legacy or interest or power of appointment given to or nomination to fiduciary office of the testator's former spouse in a will executed before the entry of the judgment of dissolution of marriage or declaration of invalidity of marriage and the will takes effect in the same manner as if the former spouse had died before the testator.
    (c) A will which is totally revoked in any manner is not revived other than by its re-execution or by an instrument declaring the revival and signed and attested in the manner prescribed by this Article for the signing and attestation of a will. If a will is partially revoked by an instrument which is itself revoked, the revoked part of the will is revived and takes effect as if there had been no revocation.
(Source: P.A. 81-230.)

755 ILCS 5/4-8

    (755 ILCS 5/4-8) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-8)
    Sec. 4-8. Contract for sale.) If after making his will the testator makes a contract for the sale or transfer of real or personal property specifically bequeathed therein and the whole or any part of the contract remains executory at his death, the disposition of the property by the contract does not revoke the bequest but the property passes to the legatee subject to the contract.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/4-9

    (755 ILCS 5/4-9) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-9)
    Sec. 4-9. Effect of alteration. An addition to a will or an alteration, substitution, interlineation or deletion of any part of a will which does not constitute a revocation of a will is of no effect, unless made by the testator or by some person in his presence and by his direction and consent and unless the will is thereafter signed and attested in the manner prescribed by this Article for the execution of a will.
(Source: P.A. 81-1509.)

755 ILCS 5/4-10

    (755 ILCS 5/4-10) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-10)
    Sec. 4-10. Effect of child born after will.) Unless provision is made in the will for a child of the testator born after the will is executed or unless it appears by the will that it was the intention of the testator to disinherit the child, the child is entitled to receive the portion of the estate to which he would be entitled if the testator died intestate and all legacies shall abate proportionately therefor.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/4-11

    (755 ILCS 5/4-11) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-11)
    Sec. 4-11. Legacy to a deceased legatee.) Unless the testator expressly provides otherwise in his will, (a) if a legacy of a present or future interest is to a descendant of the testator who dies before or after the testator, the descendants of the legatee living when the legacy is to take effect in possession or enjoyment, take per stirpes the estate so bequeathed; (b) if a legacy of a present or future interest is to a class and any member of the class dies before or after the testator, the members of the class living when the legacy is to take effect in possession or enjoyment take the share or shares which the deceased member would have taken if he were then living, except that if the deceased member of the class is a descendant of the testator, the descendants of the deceased member then living shall take per stirpes the share or shares which the deceased member would have taken if he were then living; and (c) except as above provided in (a) and (b), if a legacy lapses by reason of the death of the legatee before the testator, the estate so bequeathed shall be included in and pass as part of the residue under the will, and if the legacy is or becomes part of the residue, the estate so bequeathed shall pass to and be taken by the legatees or those remaining, if any, of the residue in proportions and upon estates corresponding to their respective interests in the residue. The provisions of (a) and (b) do not apply to a future interest which is or becomes indefeasibly vested at the testator's death or at any time thereafter before it takes effect in possession or enjoyment.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/4-13

    (755 ILCS 5/4-13) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-13)
    Sec. 4-13. Effect of order admitting will to probate.) Every will when admitted to probate as provided by this Act is effective to transfer the real and personal estate of the testator bequeathed in that will.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/4-14

    (755 ILCS 5/4-14) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-14)
    Sec. 4-14. Intestate estate of testator.) The real and personal estate of a testator that is not bequeathed by his will descends and shall be distributed as intestate estate.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/4-15

    (755 ILCS 5/4-15) (from Ch. 110 1/2, par. 4-15)
    Sec. 4-15. Debtor as executor.) The appointment of the debtor of the testator as executor of his will does not extinguish any debt due from the executor to the testator, unless the testator in the will expressly declares his intention to extinguish the debt and unless the estate of the testator without collection of the debt due from the executor is sufficient to discharge all claims against the testator's estate.
(Source: P.A. 79-328.)

755 ILCS 5/Art. IVa

 
    (755 ILCS 5/Art. IVa heading)
ARTICLE IVa
PRESUMPTIVELY VOID TRANSFERS
(Source: P.A. 98-1093, eff. 1-1-15.)