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13 S. Ill. U. L.J. 1 (1988-1989)
Illinois Power of Attorney Act

handle is hein.journals/siulj13 and id is 11 raw text is: Illinois Power of Attorney Act
James N. Zartman*
The Illinois Power of Attorney Act' is one of the half dozen
most important changes in probate law2 since the modern Probate
Act was first adopted in 1939.1 The new Act clarifies the role of the
durable power of attorney in Illinois and the governing law. It is
designed to make durable powers work in this state. The Act is in
three parts: a set of general principles applicable to all agencies,
whenever and wherever executed (Article II); a statutory form of
durable power of attorney for property (Article III); and a statutory
form of durable power for personal and health care (Article IV).
The Uniform Probate Code (UPC) pioneered the idea of durable
powers on a national basis. The UPC idea was derived in part from
the Code of Virginia (1950).4 Sections 5-501 and 5-502 of the UPC,
as first promulgated in 1969, contained the seeds of a revolutionary
concept: that a state could by legislative fiat simply reverse the age-
old agency rule that disability of the principal revoked the agency.
* James N. Zartman is with the Chicago firm of Chapman and Cutler where he
concentrates in probate and trust law, estate planning and drafting, and gift and estate tax
matters. He is a graduate of DePauw University (B.A. 1950) and Harvard Law School (LL.B.
1. S. 524, 85th Illinois General Assembly, 1st Sess. (1987) (passed by the General Assembly
on June 29, 1987, signed by the Governor on September 22, 1987, effective September 22,
1987, as Public Act 85-701).
2. The other changes were: disclaimer (1961); amendment of the Judicial Article of the
1870 Constitution in 1963, effective January 1, 1964, to make the probate court a court of
general jurisdiction; the abolition of the distinction between real and personal property for
probate purposes, effective July 1, 1966; the abolition of dower, effective January 1, 1972;
and the comprehensive changes made in the Probate Act both as to supervised and independent
administration of decedents' estates when independent administration was adopted in 1979,
effective January 1, 1980. In the related field of trust law (also affected by the Power of
Attorney Act), statutory changes of comparable importance were adoption of: the Uniform
Principal and Income Act in 1941; the prudent man rule for trust investments in 1945; and
the Trusts and Trustees Act in 1973. For simplification purposes, the 1983 substitution of a
pickup tax for Illinois' old-fashioned inheritance tax may have been as important for the
average person as all of the other changes put together.
3. 1939 Ill. Laws 4-81, (S. 345, 61st Illinois General Assembly, approved July 24, 1939,
effective January 1, 1940).
4. See UNIF. PROBATE CODE §§ 5-501, 5-502 comments (1970).

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