2016 Illinois Compiled Statutes
Chapter 765 - PROPERTY
765 ILCS 45/ - Destroyed Public Records Act.

(765 ILCS 45/0.01) (from Ch. 116, par. 4.9)
Sec. 0.01. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Destroyed Public Records Act.
(Source: P.A. 86-1324.)


(765 ILCS 45/1) (from Ch. 116, par. 5)
Sec. 1. Whenever it shall appear that the records, or any material part thereof, of any county in this state have been destroyed by fire or otherwise, any map, plat, deed, conveyance, contract, mortgage, deed of trust, or other instrument in writing affecting real estate in such county, which has been heretofore recorded, or certified copies of such, may be re-recorded; and in recording the same the recorder shall record the certificate of the previous record, and the date of filing for record appearing in said original certificate so recorded shall be deemed and taken as the date of the record thereof. And copies of any such record, so authorized to be made under this section, duly certified by the recorder of any such county, under his seal of office, shall be received in evidence, and have the same force and effect as certified copies of the original record.
(Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 652.)


(765 ILCS 45/2) (from Ch. 116, par. 6)
Sec. 2. In any county of this state where the records have been burned or destroyed, as specified in the last section, and any map, plat, deed, conveyance, contract, mortgage, deed of trust, or other instrument in writing affecting real estate in such county, has been recorded in any other county of this state, certified copies of the same, heretofore or hereafter made, may be recorded in such county where the records have been so burned or destroyed, and in recording the same the recorder shall record all certificates attached thereto; and if any of such certificates show the previous recording of the same in the county where the records have been burned or destroyed, the date of filing for record, in such county appearing in said certificate so recorded shall be deemed and taken as the date of the record thereof. And copies of any such record, so authorized to be made under this section, duly certified by the recorder of any such county, under his seal of office, shall be received in evidence, and have the same force and effect as certified copies of the original record.
(Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 652.)


(765 ILCS 45/3) (from Ch. 116, par. 7)
Sec. 3. Whenever, in any court in this state, or any other state, or in any court of the United States, there are original or certified copies of any deed, conveyance, contract, mortgage, deed of trust, or other instrument in writing affecting real estate in such county, copies thereof, certified by the clerk of such court, under his seal of office, may be made and recorded in such county where the records have been so burned or destroyed, and in recording the same the recorder shall record all the certificates attached thereto; and if any of such certificates show the previous recording of the same in the county where the records have been so burned or destroyed, the date of filing for record in such county appearing in said certificate so recorded shall be deemed and taken as the date of the record thereof. Copies of any such record, so authorized to be made under this section, duly certified by the recorder of any such county, under his seal of office, shall be received in evidence, and have the same force and effect as certified copies of the original record.
(Source: Laws 1965, p. 3690.)


(765 ILCS 45/4) (from Ch. 116, par. 8)
Sec. 4. Whenever the public record of any plat or map, which is required by law to be kept by the recorder, has been or may hereafter be injured or destroyed by fire or otherwise, it shall be the duty of the State's Attorney of the county in which such injury, loss or destruction has occurred or shall occur, forthwith to file in the circuit court a complaint, in the name of the People of the State of Illinois, setting forth substantially the fact of such injury, loss or destruction with the circumstances attending the same, as near as may be; and thereupon the clerk of such court shall cause such complaint to be published in full in one or more public newspapers published in such county, for the period of 3 weeks, together with a notice, addressed to "all whom it may concern," that the court will at a return day therein designated, which shall not be less than 4 weeks from the first publication of such information and notice, or as soon after such designated return day as the matter can be heard proceed to hear and determine the matters alleged in the complaint, and will take testimony for the purpose of reproducing and re-establishing such records of maps and plats as the court shall find to be damaged, lost or destroyed.
Parties defendant.) Upon such publication being made, all persons interested shall be deemed defendants, and may appear in person or by counsel, and be heard touching such proceedings.
Hearing.) If the court shall be satisfied that any public record of maps and plats has been injured, lost or destroyed an order to that effect shall be entered of record, and thereupon the court shall proceed to take testimony for the purpose of re-producing and re-establishing the record so damaged, lost or destroyed.
Continuances--Separate orders.) The proceedings may be continued from time to time, and orders shall be entered as to each map or plat separately.
New map recorded--Effect.) The clerk shall cause all maps and plats adjudged by the court to be correct copies of the records damaged, lost or destroyed, as often and as soon as they are so adjudged to be filed in the office of the recorder, with a certified copy of the order or judgment of the court in the premises attached thereto, and recorded in a book or books to be provided for that purpose. Such record shall be deemed and taken in all courts and places as a public record, and as a true and correct reproduction of the original record so damaged, lost or destroyed.
(Source: P.A. 83-358.)


(765 ILCS 45/5) (from Ch. 116, par. 9)
Sec. 5. All costs and expenses incurred in the proceeding under the last preceding section, including copies of maps and plats and recording of the same, shall be taxed as costs against the county in which such proceedings are had.
(Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 652.)


(765 ILCS 45/6) (from Ch. 116, par. 10)
Sec. 6. Whenever it shall appear that the records or any part thereof of any county in this state have been destroyed by fire or otherwise, so that a connected chain of title cannot be deduced therefrom, copies, duly certified by the proper officers, of all deeds, patents, certificates, plats and legal subdivisions of lands in such county in the custody or control of any officer of this state or the United States, may be recorded in the recorder's office of such county; and the record so made shall have the same force and effect as the record of the originals of such instruments.
(Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 652.)


(765 ILCS 45/7) (from Ch. 116, par. 11)
Sec. 7. It shall be the duty of the county board of such county, as soon as may be, to procure from the United States authorities at Washington, Springfield, or elsewhere, all maps, tract books or official entries or properly authenticated copies thereof as relate to any of the lands in such county, and cause the same to be recorded in the recorder's office of such county.
(Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 652.)


(765 ILCS 45/8) (from Ch. 116, par. 12)
Sec. 8. It shall be the duty of the judges of the circuit court of the county to examine into the state of the records in such county, and in case they find any abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts from the records existing after such destruction as above stated, and find that the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts were fairly made before the destruction of the records by any person or persons, in the ordinary course of business, and that they contain a material and substantial part of the records, the circuit judges of the circuit shall certify the facts found by them in respect to such abstracts, copies, minutes and extracts, and the judges shall cause all evidence produced as to the abstract books to be reduced to writing and shall cause all such evidence to be filed of record as a part of the order of the court; and also (if they are of that opinion) that such abstracts, copies, minutes and extracts tend to show a connected chain of title to the land in that county, and upon filing of a certificate of such circuit judges with the county clerk of the proper county, the county board may, with the approval of the judges of the circuit, purchase from the owners thereof such abstract copies, minutes or extracts, or such part thereof as may tend to show a connected chain of title to the land in such county, including all such judgments as form part of any such chain of title, paying therefor such fair and reasonable price as may be agreed upon between them and such owners, the amount thus agreed to be paid for such abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts shall be paid by such county in money or in bonds, to be issued by such county, as the county board may determine, or such county board may, with such approval, procure a copy of the abstracts, copies, minutes and extracts instead of the original, to be paid for in like manner. Any owner of the abstracts, copies or minutes shall have the right to file a petition in the circuit court of the proper county, in which petition he, she or they shall set forth the manner in which such abstracts, copies or minutes were made or procured, and if the court finds from the evidence produced (which evidence shall be preserved as hereinbefore provided) that the abstracts, copies or minutes were fairly made in the regular course of business before such destruction of the records, the court shall enter a judgment to that effect, and the evidence produced on the trial of the cause entered as a part of the judgment of the court. Thereupon the abstracts, copies, or minutes, of the burnt records shall be taken prima facie evidence of all such matters as they contain (but no such abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts shall be taken or held to be prima facie evidence of what they contain that does not purport to recite all deeds and mortgages previously executed and recorded, and describing the several tracts of lands and town lots to which the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts refer from the date of entry). All abstracts to separate tracts of lands made by the owner of the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts shall also be taken and held as prima facie evidence of what they contain when they were accompanied with an affidavit signed and sworn to by the owner or owners of the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts, showing that the separate abstracts contain a full, true and perfect copy of all transfers on the tract or tracts set forth in the separate abstracts as appears upon the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts, as established by the circuit court of .... County, on the .... day of ...., .... and that the separate abstracts contain all deeds, mortgages and other liens on the separate tracts, as shown by the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts established as above stated.
(Source: P.A. 84-1308.)


(765 ILCS 45/9) (from Ch. 116, par. 13)
Sec. 9. All abstracts, copies, minutes and extracts, or copy thereof, if so bought as provided in this Act, shall thereupon be placed in the recorder's office of such county, to be copied or arranged in such form as the county board shall deem best for the public interest, and in case the originals have been lost or destroyed, or not in the power of the party asking to use the same on any trial or other proceeding, copies of the same or any part thereof, duly certified by the recorder of such county, shall be admissible as evidence in all the courts in this state. It shall be the duty of the recorder of to such county to furnish to any and all parties requesting it (upon being paid the charges herein provided for), certified copies of the same, or parts thereof; and for the purpose of repaying the cost of the same to the county, the county board may fix a compensation, to be paid to the county, in addition to the fees allowed by law to the recorder for transcribing the same. In all cases in which any abstracts, copies, minutes and extracts, or copies thereof, shall be received in evidence under any of the provisions of this Act, all deeds or other instruments of writing appearing thereby to have been executed by any person or persons, or in which they appear to have joined, shall (except as against any person or persons in the actual possession of the lands or lots described therein at the time of the destruction of the records of such county, claiming title thereto otherwise than under a sale for taxes or special assessments), be presumed to have been executed and acknowledged according to law; and all sales under powers, and all judgments, orders and legal proceedings, and all sales thereunder (sales for taxes and assessments, and judgments and proceedings for the enforcement of taxes and assessments excepted), shall be presumed to be regular and correct, except as against the person or persons in this section before mentioned, and any person alleging any defect or irregularity in any such conveyance, acknowledgment, sale, judgment, order or legal proceeding shall be held bound to prove the same, and any deed proved under the provisions of this Act purporting to be based upon the execution of any power or upon a judgment or order shall be prima facie evidence of the existence of such power, judgment or order: Provided, that nothing in this act contained shall impair the effect of such destroyed record as notice.
(Source: P.A. 83-358.)


(765 ILCS 45/10) (from Ch. 116, par. 14)
Sec. 10. In case of such destruction of records, as aforesaid, the circuit court in the county shall have power to inquire into the condition of any title to or interest in any land in such county, and to make all such orders and judgments as may be necessary to determine and establish such title or interest, legal or equitable, against all persons known or unknown, and all liens existing on such land, whether by statute, judgment, mortgage, deed of trust or otherwise.
(Source: P.A. 79-1366.)


(765 ILCS 45/11) (from Ch. 116, par. 15)
Sec. 11. It is lawful for any person claiming title to any lands in such county at the time of the destruction of such records, and for all claiming under any such person, to file a petition in the circuit court in such county, praying for a judgment establishing and confirming his title.
Any number of parcels of land may be included in one petition, or separate petitions may be filed, as the petitioner may elect.
The petition shall state clearly the description of the lands, the character and extent of the estate claimed by the petitioner, and from whom, and when, and by what mode he derived his title thereto. It shall give the names of all persons owning or claiming any estate in fee in the lands, or any part thereof, and also all persons who shall be in possession of the land, or any part thereof, and also all persons to whom any such lands shall have been conveyed, and the deed or deeds of such conveyance which have been recorded in the office of the recorder of such county, since the time of the destruction of such records as provided for in this Act, and prior to the time of the filing of the petition, and their residences, so far as the same are known to petitioner; and if no such persons are known to petitioner it shall be so stated in the petition.
All persons so named in the petition shall be made defendants, and shall be notified of the action by summons, if residents of this State, in the same manner as is now or may hereafter be required in civil proceedings by the laws of this State; provided, that the notice specified in Section 12 of this Act is the only publication notice required, either in case of residents, non-residents or otherwise. All other persons shall be deemed and taken as defendants by the name or designation of "all whom it may concern".
The petition shall be verified by the affidavit of the petitioner, or by the agent of petitioner; and a party so swearing falsely is guilty of perjury and shall be punished accordingly, and is liable in damages to any person injured by such false statement, to be recovered in a civil action in the circuit court.
(Source: P.A. 90-655, eff. 7-30-98.)


(765 ILCS 45/12) (from Ch. 116, par. 16)
Sec. 12. It shall be the duty of the clerk of the court in which the petition is filed, to enter, in a separate book or books to be kept for the purpose the names of the petitioners and defendants, the date of filing the petition, and a description of all the lands included therein, which record shall be at all times open to the public. All lands in each separate town, addition, section or subdivision shall be entered on the same page, or consecutive pages, with an index to the book or books, showing on what page any such separate town, addition, section or subdivision may be found. The clerk shall also, in all cases, cause publication of notice to be made of the filing of said petition, which notice shall be entitled "Land Title Notice," and shall be substantially as follows:
A. B. C. D. etc., (here giving the names of all known defendants, if any,) and to all whom it may concern:
Take notice, that on (insert date), a petition was filed by the undersigned, in the .... court of .... County, to establish his or her or its title to the following described lands. (Here insert a full description of the lands in the petition.) Now, unless you appear on (insert date) in the court, (naming a return day at least 30 days from the first insertion of the notice), and show cause against such application, the allegations of the petition shall stand admitted, and the title or interest of the petitioner will be adjudged and established according to the prayer of the petition, and you forever barred from disputing the same.
G.P. Attorney at Law E.F. Petitioner

The notice shall be published once a week for 3 weeks the first insertion to be at least 30 days prior to the return day named in such notice for appearance, and the several publications shall be in the same newspaper in the county or if there be no newspaper published in the county, then in a newspaper published in one of the counties nearest thereto. Provided, the newspaper shall be a newspaper of general circulation, printed in the English language, and shall have been continuously published in the county for a period of at least 6 months.
(Source: P.A. 91-357, eff. 7-29-99.)


(765 ILCS 45/13) (from Ch. 116, par. 17)
Sec. 13. Any person interested may oppose any such petition, and file his answer or appropriate motion thereto on or before the day named in said publication notice, unless the time be extended by order of court, and may also file a cross petition if he or she desires to do so. Such answer shall admit or deny all the material allegations of the petition, and shall, except when made by guardians ad litem, be verified by the affidavit either of the respondent or his agent, in the same manner as above required on cases of the petition. The answer shall have no other nor greater weight as evidence than the petition.
(Source: P.A. 79-1366.)


(765 ILCS 45/14) (from Ch. 116, par. 18)
Sec. 14. If no appropriate motion or answer shall be filed as above provided, the petition may stand as admitted, and a judgment entered according to the prayer of such petition, upon proof of the facts stated in such petition; but if any person shall file an answer to such petition, the court may hear evidence. If the petition includes more than one parcel of land, and no appropriate motion or answer shall be filed as to some of the parcels, the court may enter a judgment as to those parcels as to which no appropriate motion or answer shall be filed, and hear evidence as to the remaining parcels.
(Source: P.A. 79-1366.)


(765 ILCS 45/15) (from Ch. 116, par. 19)
Sec. 15. It shall be competent for courts, in all such judgments to determine and order in whom the title in any or all of the lands described in the petition is vested, whether in the petitioner, or in any other of the parties before the court; but such judgment shall not in any wise affect any lien or liens to which such fee may be subject, and which have been created since the destruction of such records, whether the same be by mortgage, deed of trust, judgment, statute, mechanics' lien, or otherwise, but shall leave all such liens to be ascertained or established in some other proceeding, or to be enforced as the parties holding them may see fit.
(Source: P.A. 79-1366.)


(765 ILCS 45/16) (from Ch. 116, par. 20)
Sec. 16. The judgment of the court, when entered, shall be forever binding and conclusive: Provided, that any judgment shall be subject to be opened, modified, vacated or set aside on appeal. Any judgment entered upon any petition or cross-petition, which does not make defendant, by name, all persons who shall be in possession of such lands, or any part thereof at the time of the filing of such petition, or which does not make defendant, by name, all persons to whom any such lands shall have been conveyed, and the deed or deeds of such conveyance shall have been recorded in the office of the recorder of such county since the time of the destruction of the records, as aforesaid, and prior to the time of the filing of any such petition, shall be absolutely void as to such person omitted, but shall be final and conclusive as to all others. All defendants who shall not be actually served with a summons in the action in which such judgment may be entered, shall have allowed to them the same time after the entry of such judgment within which, upon petition to the court entering the judgment, to have such judgment vacated and set aside in the same manner as is allowed to defendants in other civil cases.
(Source: P.A. 83-358.)


(765 ILCS 45/17) (from Ch. 116, par. 21)
Sec. 17. Whenever any deeds or other instruments, in writing affecting the title to any of the lands in any such county, shall have been filed for record so short a time before such destruction of the records, as aforesaid, that no proof of them remains either on such records, or among the abstracts, copies, minutes or extracts specified in Section 8 of this Act, it shall be the duty of the person or persons having filed the same or claiming the benefit thereof, within 60 days from the time this Act takes effect, to re-file for record such deeds or other instruments or copies thereof, or if that cannot be done, then he shall, within 60 days, make and file a petition to establish such deed or other instrument of writing, under the provisions of this Act. In all cases when any original deed and the record thereof has been lost or destroyed, it shall be lawful for any person having a duly certified copy of said record to cause the same to be recorded, which record shall have the same force and effect as now belong to the record of original deeds.
(Source: P.A. 91-357, eff. 7-29-99.)


(765 ILCS 45/18) (from Ch. 116, par. 22)
Sec. 18. No tax deed or certificate of tax sale based on any proceedings, the record of which shall appear to have been destroyed, as aforesaid, shall be received in any of the courts of this state as prima facie evidence of the regularity of such proceedings, but the burden of proof shall be upon the person claiming under such deed or certificate to show the regularity and legality of all such proceedings; in order to sustain the validity of any tax deed or sale for any tax or taxes, assessment or assessments, in any county to which the provisions of this act are applicable, in any suit or proceeding whatsoever, it shall be necessary for the party relying upon any such deed or sale to show, affirmatively, that each and all the provisions of law, in respect to assessment, levy, sale and deed of the lands affected or to be affected by any such deed or sale as aforesaid, have been in all respects complied with--and no presumption shall be indulged in favor of any such tax deed or sale: and it shall not be sufficient to show a collector's report, notice, judgment, order of sale, sale notice, notice of sale, tax affidavit, and deed, anything in this law or in any other law of this state to the contrary notwithstanding.
(Source: P.A. 80-1495.)


(765 ILCS 45/19) (from Ch. 116, par. 23)
Sec. 19. Executors, administrators, guardians and trustees shall be entitled to proceed under this act in behalf of the interest and rights they represent.
(Source: P.A. 83-706.)


(765 ILCS 45/21) (from Ch. 116, par. 25)
Sec. 21. The word "person," when used in this act, shall include persons and all bodies politic and corporate.
(Source: Laws 1871-72, p. 652.)


(765 ILCS 45/22) (from Ch. 116, par. 26)
Sec. 22. The provisions of the Civil Practice Law, and all existing and future amendments of such Law and modifications thereof, and the Supreme Court Rules now or hereafter adopted in relation to that Law, shall apply to all proceedings hereunder, except as otherwise provided in this Act.
(Source: P.A. 82-783.)


(765 ILCS 45/23) (from Ch. 116, par. 27)
Sec. 23. In all cases under the provisions of this Act, and in all proceedings or actions now or hereafter instituted as to any estate, interest or right in, or any lien or incumbrance upon any lots, pieces or parcels of land, when any party to such action or proceeding, or his agent or attorney in his behalf, orally in court, or by affidavit, to be filed in such action or proceeding, testifies and states under oath that the original of any deeds, conveyances, or other written or record evidence, has been lost or destroyed, or not in the power of the party wishing to use it on the trial to produce the same, and the record thereof has been destroyed by fire or otherwise, the court shall receive all such evidence as may have a bearing on the case to establish the execution or contents of the deeds, conveyances, records, or other written evidence, so lost or destroyed, but the testimony of the parties themselves shall be received subject to all the qualifications in respect of such testimony which are now provided by law, and any writings in the possession of any person or persons which may become admissible in evidence, under the provision of this Section or of any other part of this Act, shall be rejected and not be admitted in evidence unless the same appears upon its face without erasure, blemish, alteration, interlineation or interpolation in any material part, unless the same is explained to the satisfaction of the court, and to have been fairly and honestly made in the ordinary course of business. Any person or persons making any such erasure, alteration, interlineation or interpolation, in such writing, with the intent to change the same in any substantial matter, after the same has been once made as above stated, shall be guilty of the crime of forgery, and be punished accordingly. Any person or persons who is or are engaged in the business of making writings or written entries concerning or relating to lands and real estate, in any county in this State to which this Act applies, and of furnishing to persons applying therefor abstracts and copies of such writings or written entries, for a fee, reward or compensation therefor, and do not make the same truly and without alteration or interpolation, in any matter of substance, with the view and intent to alter or change the same in any material matter, or matter of substance, shall be guilty of the crime of forgery, and punished accordingly; and any and all such person or persons shall furnish such abstracts or copies to the person and persons from time to time applying therefor, in the order of applications and without unnecessary delay, and for a reasonable consideration to be allowed therefor, which in no case shall exceed the sum of $1.50 for each and every conveyance, or other like change of title, shown upon such abstract or copy; and any and all persons so engaged, and whose business is hereby declared to stand upon a like footing with that of common carriers, who refuses so to do, if tender or payment is made to him or them of the amount demanded for such abstract or copy, not exceeding the amount provided in this Act, as soon as such amount is made known, or ascertained, or of a sum adequate to cover such amount, before its ascertainment, shall be guilty of the crime of extortion, and punished by a fine of not less than $100, and not exceeding $1,000 therefor, upon indictment in the circuit court, and shall also be liable in a civil action for any and all damages, loss or injury, which any person or persons applying therefor may suffer or incur by reason of such failure to furnish such abstract or copy as provided in this Act.
(Source: P.A. 84-550.)


(765 ILCS 45/24) (from Ch. 116, par. 28)
Sec. 24. Whenever, upon the trial of any suit or proceeding which is now or hereafter may be pending in any court in this state any party to such suit or proceeding, or his agent or his attorney in his behalf, shall orally in court or by affidavit to be filed in such cause, testify and state under oath that the originals of any deeds or other instrument in writing, or records of any court relating to any lands, the title or any interest therein, being in controversy in such suit or proceeding, are lost or destroyed, or not within the power of the party to produce the same, and that the records thereof are destroyed by fire or otherwise, it shall be lawful for such party to offer, and the court shall receive as evidence any abstract of title, or letter-press copy thereof, made in the ordinary course of business prior to such loss or destruction, and it shall also be lawful for any such party to offer, and the court shall receive as evidence, any copy, extracts of minutes from such destroyed records, or from the originals thereof, which were, at the date of such destruction or loss, in the possession of persons then engaged in the business of making abstracts of title for others for hire. A sworn copy of any writing admissible under this section made by the person or persons having possession of such writing, shall be admissible in evidence in like manner, and with like effect, as such writing, provided the party desiring to use such sworn copy as evidence shall have given the opposite party a reasonable opportunity to verify the correctness of such copy.
(Source: Laws 1887, p. 258.)


Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Illinois may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.