Grading Basis: Graded
This is a basic course designed to consider the transfer of property at death and to focus on the roles of clients, lawyers, legislatures, courts and fiduciaries in the process. Students become familiar with the law relating to wills and trusts and consider their use in our society for the purpose of preserving, accumulating and disposing of property. Also considered are techniques for drafting, execution, integration, and revocation of wills and codicils; the nature of a trust, its creation and elements; the nature and transfer of a beneficiary's interests; the termination and modification of trusts, charitable trusts; resulting and constructive trusts; the fiduciary's position in probate and trust administration; intestate succession; contract to will; will substitutes, estate and gift taxes; and probate procedures. Existing rules and procedures are compared with alternative suggestions for reform. The role of the lawyer and his or her professional responsibility in planning estates is emphasized. Basic tax materials and planning devices are surveyed, including the use of a marital deduction, gifts, and insurance, to prepare students for advanced work in estate planning.