By Ben A. Neiburger, Attorney, Generation Law
Navigating the complexities of estate planning and elder care can be daunting, especially when faced with ever-changing laws and regulations. To help you stay informed, this post summarizes the relevant legislative changes taking effect in Illinois in 2024 as well as inflation related changes to certain Federal limits in 2024. Whether you’re planning for your own future or assisting a loved one, understanding these changes is crucial to ensuring your wishes are carried out correctly and your loved ones are protected.
If you want to know how any of these laws might affect your or a loved one’s estate plan or care, you can get in touch with us here: generationlaw.com/contact.
I. Probate – Guardian Appointment (SB 195 / Public Act 103-0475)
Amends the Probate Act of 1975
- Provides that no petition for the appointment of a guardian of a minor shall be filed if the primary purpose of the filing is to reduce the financial resources available to the minor in order to cause the minor to qualify for public or private financial assistance from an educational institution.
- Allows the court to deny such a petition if it finds that the primary purpose of the filing is to enable the minor to declare financial independence so that the minor may obtain public or private financial assistance from an educational institution or a State or federal student financial aid program
This legislation responds to the scandal in which people were obtaining guardianship of other people’s children (with consent) so that those children could benefit from means based scholarship opportunities.
II. Nursing Homes – Resident Consent (SB 1497 / Public Act 103-0489)
Amends the Nursing Home Care Act
- Provides that “emergency” means a situation, physical condition, or one or more practices, methods, or operations that present imminent danger of death or serious physical or mental harm to residents of a facility and that are clinically documented in the resident’s medical record (rather than only a situation, physical condition or one or more practices, methods or operations that present imminent danger of death or serious physical or mental harm to residents of a facility).
- Requires the need for positioning devices to be demonstrated and documented in the resident’s care plan.
- Requires that assessment to be revisited in every comprehensive assessment of the resident.
- Provides that psychotropic medication shall be administered to a resident only if clinical documentation in the resident’s medical record supports the benefit of the psychotropic medication over contraindications related to other prescribed medications and supports the diagnosis of the resident.
- Provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, if a resident is in a state of emergency, the emergency shall be clinically documented in the resident’s medical record.
III. Counseling Compact (SB 2123 / Public Act 103-0467)
Creates the Counseling Compact Act
- Provides that the State of Illinois enters into the Counseling Compact.
- Specifies that the Compact’s purpose is to facilitate interstate practice of licensed professional counselors with the goal of improving public access to professional counseling services.
- Sets out provisions concerning the privilege to practice, obtaining a new home state license, active duty military personnel, telehealth, adverse actions, Counseling Compact Commission, data systems, rulemaking, oversight, dispute resolution, and enforcement.
- Contains other provisions concerning the Commission, the Compact, and the procedures governing participating in and construction of the Compact.
Amends the Professional Counselor and Clinical Professional Counselor Licensing and Practice Act
- Requires the Professional Counselor Licensing and Disciplinary Board to submit a report to the General Assembly with recommendations of any statutory changes and budgetary changes needed to comply with the requirements of the Counseling Compact.
- Requires the Board and Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to modify, if needed, Board and Department rules to comply with the requirements of the Counseling Compact.
- Provides that the changes to the Professional Counselor and Clinical Professional Counselor Licensing and Practice Act are effective immediately.
IV. Probate – Executor (HB 1268 / Public Act 103-0280)
Amends the Probate Act of 1975
- Provides that a person who has been convicted of a felony is qualified to act as an executor if:
(i) the testator names that person as an executor and expressly acknowledges in the will that the testator is aware that the person has been convicted of a felony; and
(ii) the person is otherwise qualified to act as an executor.
V. Elder Abuse – Exploit (HB 2100 / Public Act 103-0293)
Amends the Criminal Code of 2012
- In the statute concerning abuse or criminal neglect of a long term care facility resident, changes references to “an elderly person’s or person with a disability’s life” to references to “a resident’s life”.
- In the statute concerning financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability, provides that a person who violates the provisions is guilty of a Class 1 felony if the elderly person is 70 years of age or older (instead of “over 70 years of age”) and the value of the property is $15,000 or more.
VI. Electronic Nontestamentary Estate Docs (HB 2269 / Public Act 103-0301)
Amends the Electronic Wills and Remote Witnesses Act
- Changes the short title of the Act to the Electronic Wills, Electronic Estate Planning Documents, and Remote Witnesses Act.
- Defines “electronic”, “information”, “nontestamentary estate planning document”, “person”, “record”, “security procedure”, “settlor”, “sign”, “state”, “terms of trust”, “trust instrument”, and “will”.
Creates the Electronic Nontestamentary Estate Planning Documents Article
- Sets forth provisions related to: construction; scope; principles of law and equity; use of an electronic record or signature; recognition of an electronic nontestamentary estate planning document and electronic signature; attribution and effect of an electronic record and electronic signature; notarization and acknowledgment; witnessing and attestation; retention of an electronic record; certification of a paper copy; admissibility in evidence; relation to the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act; application; and severability.
Makes conforming changes in the Probate Act of 1975
This is a big deal. The legislation will permit people to electronically sign beneficiary forms.
VII. Adult Protective Services (HB 2858 / Public Act 103-0329)
Amends the Adult Protective Services Act
- Excludes from the definition of “mandated reporter” the State Long Term Care Ombudsman and the Ombudsman’s representatives or volunteers when such persons are prohibited from making a report under a federal regulation.
VIII. Long Term Care Ombudsman Info (HB 1156 / Public Act 103-0119)
Amends the Assisted Living and Shared Housing Act, the Life Care Facilities Act, the Nursing Home Care Act, the MC/DD Act, and the ID/DD Community Care Act
- Provides that establishments or facilities licensed under the Acts shall post on the home page of the licensed establishment’s or facility’s website specified information about the Department on Aging’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.
- Provides that an establishment or facility may comply with the provisions by posting the required information on the website of its parent company if the establishment does not maintain a unique website and is not required to comply with the provisions if the establishment or facility and any parent company do not maintain a website.
- Contains other provisions.
IX. IDPH – Medicaid Fees (HB 1558 / Public Act 103-0127)
Amends the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois
- Removes language requiring the Department of Public Health to establish, by rule, and charge a fee to any facility or program applying to be certified to participate in the Medicare program or in the Medicaid program to cover the costs associated with the application, inspection, and survey of the facility or program and processing of the application.
X. Distressed Facility Criteria (HB 2076 / Public Act 103-0139)
Amends the Nursing Home Care Act
- Requires the Department of Public Health to adopt criteria, by rule, to identify distressed facilities and to publish a list of distressed facilities quarterly.
- Provides that no facility shall be identified as a distressed facility unless it has committed a violation or deficiency that has harmed a resident.
- Removes existing language requiring the Department of Public Health to generate and publish quarterly a list of distressed facilities based on specified criteria.
XI. Power of Attorney – Visitation (SB 0055 / Public Act 103-0055)
Amends the Illinois Power of Attorney Act
- Provides that restricting or not allowing an interested person to have reasonable visitation with a principal is an action upon which a court may find that an agent is not acting for the benefit of the principal.
XII. Guardianship – Dementia Training (SB 0216 / Public Act 103-0064)
Amends the Guardianship and Advocacy Act
- Provides that the guardianship training program shall include content regarding Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Amends the Probate Act of 1975
- Requires a public guardian to complete a one-hour course on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia within 6 months of appointment and annually thereafter.
XIII. Illinois Medicaid by the Numbers
- Medicaid Eligibility Asset Limit (for individuals) – $17,500 (same as 2023)
- Spousal Impoverishment asset limit – $120,780 (this is the 2023 number, the 2024 increase hasn’t been released yet)
- Spousal Income limit – $3,853 per month
- Spousal Home Equity Limit – $713,000
XIV. Illinois Estate Tax
- $4,000,000 (same as for 2023) for an individual. For married couples, this tax will apply on the second to die. To double this exclusion for a married couple, you must plan in advance.
FEDERAL INFLATION ADJUSTED INCREASES
I. Social Security Related
- Supplemental Security Income – $914 for an individual and $1,371 for a couple.
- Substantial Gainful Activity Limit for Social Security Disability Income Benefits – $1,470
II. Estate and Gift Tax
- Basic Exclusion Amount – $13,610,000
- Annual Gift Exclusion – $18,000
Photo Credit: Daniel Schwen. Image edited with Generative Expand.