Estate Planning & Probate Pathway

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Estate Planning & Probate covers more than saving estate and gift taxes. It is not a process where only the wealthy need be concerned. Every person, regardless of their net worth, needs a carefully reasoned, prepared and executed succession plan to cover a wide a variety of concerns, including financial asset management, protection from creditors, planning for children with special needs, disability planning and health care, qualifying for Medicaid and Medicare, satisfying charitable desires and most importantly, designing flexibility for future unknowns. The estate planning process focuses on the family’s concerns besides saving estate taxes. And, there are the practical concerns that the lawyer needs to address, such as the potential for malpractice, will contest avoidance techniques and the introduction of income tax saving ideas. Since the estate plan will fail if the documents are not carefully prepared, executed, preserved and reviewed, special emphasis needs to be placed o n the drafting of the various documents.

There are a number of courses devoted to subjects within the of Estate Planning and Probate Law as well courses to help you prepare to take the bar examination. Students who want to pursue legal practice in this area should consider the courses below. Other courses, besides those listed below, are offered under the FIU College of Law curriculum.

Please view the Schedule of Classes to determine which courses will be offered during the current school year.

Foundation Courses related to this pathway include: Property Law.

Core Courses

Estate and Gift Tax
LAW 6621 Estate and Gift Tax (2-3). This course covers federal estate and gift taxes and their impact on gratuitous property transactions during life and at death. The course includes brief consideration of the tax on generation skipping transfers. Prerequisites: Federal Income Tax, Wills and Trusts.

Federal Income Tax
LAW 6600 Federal Income Tax (3). This course offers an introduction to the fundamental principles of federal income taxation, particularly as applied to individuals, including the concepts of gross income, identification of the proper taxpayer, deductions, income tax accounting, capital gains and losses, deferred payment sales and non-recognition transactions. Consideration will be given to issues of tax policy and tax planning techniques.

Wills and Trusts
LAW 6430 Wills and Trusts (3-4). The intergenerational transfer of wealth in the United States is controlled by both statutory and common law principles. Competing views of the individual’s freedom of disposition and state power both to channel and to tax property have led to an interesting and complex array of legal devices and institutions. These include statutory intestacy and elective share provisions, wills, and trusts. Related topics to be addressed will include planning for incapacity, future interests in property, powers of appointment, life insurance, and introductory aspects of trust and estate administration.

Advanced Electives

Elder Law
LAW 6717 Elder Law (2-3). This course covers such areas as income tax provisions of special interest to senior citizens, Social Security, pension plan distributions, Medicare and Medicaid coverage, long-term care and nursing home admission, powers-of-attorney regarding health care proxies and financial/legal matters, guardianship, and ethical considerations in advising elderly clients. The emphasis is on understanding federal statutory provisions that affect the care, comfort, and financial security of persons as they live longer, to permit informed advising and sensitive planning.

Estate Planning
LAW 6450 Estate Planning (3). This course will explore the theories and skills involved in the estate planning process. Topics include the estate planning engagement, information gathering, identification of client objectives, development of remedial and conventional estate plans, and selection of fiduciaries. Prerequisites: Federal Income Tax, and Wills and Trusts.

Experiential Courses


Eloisa C. Rodriguez-Dod, Professor of Law

Jerome Hesch

William T. Muir