Illinois Senate Bill 2179 and the Statute of Repose for Estate Planning

On August 13, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed SB2179, which amends 735 ILCS 5/13-214.3 and creates a 6-year statute of repose on claims against an attorney related to the preparation of an estate plan. Claims need to be brought in the time for claims against the estate or the period to contest a will, which can be as little as six months. SB2179 adds to that provision by requiring, in such situations, that claims may not be brought more than six years after the services were performed.

Both new and experienced lawyers confuse Statutes of Limitation and Statutes of Repose. The statute of limitations is a deadline for filing a claim once the cause for the claim is discovered. In Illinois, 735 ILCS 5/13-214.3 establishes a two-year statute of limitations for legal malpractice actions, which incorporates the discovery rule. A statute of repose, however, extends beyond a statute of limitations and creates an absolute limit for when a claim can be filed.

This amendment further confirms that it is critical to bring claims against attorneys in a timely fashion to not lose the claim.

For more information, read this reprint from the October 2021 issue of the Illinois Bar Journal, “Repose in Peace”

Written by Garrett P. Kern, Esq. Vice President of Claims at ISBA Mutual.