New Laws in 2017

New Laws

A number of new laws went into effect January 1, 2017. Monahan Law Group, LLC compiled the list below with brief explanations of laws that may affect you.

Probate and Guardianship

Involvement of Adult Children of Wards in Guardianship

Public Act 099-0821 (HB5924) adds a new subsection to Section 11a-17 of the Probate Act. The Probate Act now puts a duty on a private guardian (public guardians and the Office of State Guardian are not included) to make reasonable efforts to notify the ward's family of the ward's admission to a hospital or hospice program, the ward's death, and the arrangements for the disposition of the ward's remains. However, this is limited to the ward's known adult children who have requested notification and provided contact information.

The new subsection further allows for an adult child of the ward to petition the court for visitation between the ward and the adult child if the guardian unreasonably prevents an adult child of the ward from visiting the ward. The court must find that visitation is in the ward's best interests.

Short-Term Guardianship for Active Duty Service Members

Public Act 099-0599 (HB4327) amends Section 11-5.4 of the Probate Act, which allows for the appointment of a short-term guardian for a minor, to provide that a parent who is an active duty service member of the armed forces can appoint a short-term guardian for a minor for a period longer than 365 days (the maximum amount of days allowed). The Act makes changes to the statutory form to reflect the change in the statute.

Estate Planning and Trusts

Special Needs Trusts

The 21st Century Cures Act, more widely known for its funding to fight opioid addiction, for brain disease research, and for Vice-President Biden's "Cancer Moonshot," also amends the Social Security Act to allow for an individual with a disability to protect his or her own assets in special needs trust (SNT).

Before the enactment of this amendment, only a parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or court could create an SNT. Effective immediately, all people with disabilities, as defined under the Act, under 65 years of age who have capacity, can create their own SNTs.

The attorneys at Monahan Law Group, LLC have extensive experience in creating SNTs and other estate planning tools. Please contact our office for more information or any questions.

Federal Limits

The federal annual exclusion gift amount of $14,000 per person did not increase in 2017.

The federal estate tax exemption increased by $40,000 to $5,490,000 in 2017.

We are staying tuned for potential tax changes under the new administration and will let clients know of any larger changes, should those occur.

PA 99-0743 (SB 2842) Requires that the transfer of real property to a trust have a transfer of legal title to the trustee - a response to the Mendelson case.

PA 99-0609 (HB4697) Provides protections for owners or beneficiary of a land trust.

Mental Health

Video Conferencing at Mental Health Hearings

Public Act 099-0535 amends the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code by adding Section 2-107.4 which allows for hearings for involuntary administration of psychotropic medications or ECT to be conducted using video conferencing equipment. This also includes permitting any witness, including a psychiatrist, to testify by video conferencing equipment.

This Act is just one piece of an ongoing effort to bring video conferencing equipment into mental health hearings. The Circuit Court of Cook County recently enacted local court rules, necessary to implement the sections of the Mental Health Code, to allow for video conferencing at hearings.

New Order Regarding Filing Procedure for Involuntary Petitions

On January 19, 2017, the Honorable Sharon M. Sullivan, Presiding Judge of the County Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, entered an administrative order outlining the procedures for hospitals to follow when filing petitions for involuntary admission or involuntary medication.

Here is a link to the order:

Administrative Order 2017-1: Filing Procedures

PA 99-0894 (SB0320) Creates the Mental Health Opportunities for Youth Diversion Task Force.

Health Law

PA 99-0566 (SB2331) Clarifies that Medicaid managed care entities include business associates; allows the entities and business associates to communicate directly with clients regarding care coordination activities.

PA 99-0690 (SB1564) Amends Health Care Right of Conscience Act; requires patients receive information about treatment options when a provider refuses to provide services for conscience reasons.

Disability Law

PA 99-0582 (SB2956) Requires buildings to be more accessible to individuals with disabilities.

PA 99-0630 (SB2880) Allows for remote testimony for minors, persons with disabilities in criminal sexual assault cases.

PA 99-0829 (HB4257) DHS shall issue upon request a card certifying that the holder has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Allows for collection of associated fee not to exceed $10.

PA 99-0892 (SB2610) Establishes a new type of license for organizations providing services to individuals with developmental disabilities - the "continuum of care facility" license.

Child Welfare

PA 99-0836 (HB5551) Expands definition of "fictive kin" to include an individual who has been the foster parent of a ward of the state for at least one year; recognizes that incarcerated parents should be able to participate in case plan reviews for children in foster care.

PA 99-0838 (HB5656) Requires DCFS to make reasonable efforts and accommodations to grant visitation privileges to a non-custodial grandparent or great-grandparent of a child who is in the care and custody of the Department.

PA 99-0638 (HB4425) Requires DCFS to notify the Department of Defense Family Advocacy Program if it determines the alleged perpetrator of child abuse or neglect is a service member.

PA 99-0625 (SB2512) Ensures the parent, guardian or responsible relative of abused minors relay contact information for the minor's living relatives to DCFS.

Adoption

PA 99-832 (HB4590) Adds to list of adoption disclosures: reasons the birth parents stated for placing the child for adoption; how and why the adoptive parents were selected and who selected them; and whether the birth parents requested or agreed to post-adoption contact with the child at the time of placement, and, if so, the frequency and type of contact.

PA 99-0833 (HB4641) Makes it easier for birth parents surrendering children for adoption to voluntarily provide medical information and other background information for the benefit of the adoptee and his or her adoptive parents; requires adoptive parents to be given a statement of their rights and responsibilities, including the right to voluntarily connect and exchange information with birth parents; creates background check and other requirements for private adoptions.

Elder Law

PA 99-0857 (SB2929) Requires DHS to determine Medicaid eligibility for long-term care services even if the applicant passes away, guaranteeing payment to nursing facilities offering services pending Medicaid coverage.

For additional information or details about these laws, please contact our office.

Welcome Anna Dzamashvili and Joseph Willuweit to Monahan Law Group, LLC

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It is with great excitement that Monahan Law Group, LLC announces the addition of two attorneys to our firm.

Anna Dzamashvili concentrates her practice in decedent's estates, adult guardianships, real estate, and health law.

Ms. Dzamashvili has experience working with Equip for Equality and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She also worked as a Client Advocate for Loyola University Chicago School of Law's Health Justice Program, providing pro bono legal services to the legally underserved community.

Ms. Dzamashvili received her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law where she was a member of the Health Law Society and received a Certificate in Health Law from the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy. She received her Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs from Indiana University with a minor in business.

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Joseph Willuweit concentrates his practice in mental health and confidentiality, risk management, health care law, professional licensure, and guardianship and probate matters.

Prior to Monahan Law Group, Mr. Willuweit interned in the general counsel's office at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) and the American Dental Association. Additionally, he volunteered at the Pro Se Adult Guardianship Help Desk for the Cook County Circuit Court.

Mr. Willuweit received his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he served as Senior Editor of the Annals of Health Law and was involved with the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy including planning and coordinating the 2015 Access to Health Field Study in McAllen, Texas. He received his undergraduate degrees from Loyola University Chicago where he graduated from the Interdisciplinary Honors Program and was active in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.