Centure Bank v. Voga

Illinois Appellate Court
Civil Court
Doctrine of Election; Wills
Case Number: 
2017 IL App (2d) 160690
Decision Date: 
Thursday, June 22, 2017
2d Dist.
Kendall Co.
Reversed and remanded.

Defendant, Linda, was designated agent under her father’s durable power of attorney (“POA”). The POA gave Linda power to amend any trust of which her father was the trustor. Linda amended a Trust that involved property left to her other siblings. Her brother, Defendant, Lyle, challenged the amendment as invalid because the POA did not specifically mention the Trust in granting Linda the power to amend trusts established by their father. Court held that the doctrine of election barred Lyle’s challenge to the amendment, because Lyle made an election through acceptance of the benefits conferred by the Trust. Court improperly applied the doctrine of election. The doctrine is triggered when there are two different benefits to which a person is entitled, the testator did not intend the beneficiary to take both benefits, and allowing the beneficiary to claim both would be inequitable to others having claims upon the same property or fund. Since the Court failed to identify facts suggesting that Lyle’s acceptance of those benefits was an election between inconsistent and alternative claims to trust property, the doctrine did not apply.