Estates Law (ESGL)


This course will analyze the growing intersection, use, and practical application of appropriate dispute resolution for resolving trust and estate disputes. This objective will be accomplished primarily through interactive lectures, guest speaker presentations, and an extended analysis and in-class simulation of a recent high-profile will dispute. During the semester, we will explore generally the basic principles of negotiation, mediation, and arbitration as principal forms of appropriate dispute resolution. We will also gain a basic understanding of the most common trust & estate disputes, including: will contests, fiduciary litigation, and guardianship proceedings. Lastly, we will participate in an extended simulation of the recent will dispute concerning millionaire heiress and known-recluse Huguette Clark, including: in-class negotiations; in-class mediations; and a panel discussion with the attorneys who worked on the real-life dispute.


ESGL 0410. ESTATE PLANNING. (2 Credits)

ESGL 0521. TRUSTS & WILLS. (3 or 4 Credits)

Trusts and Wills is an introduction to mechanisms for dispositions of personal wealth upon death. The class considers issues of testamentary capacity, policy limitations on personal wealth transfer, testamentary document execution and interpretation along with duties owed by an attorney in the testamentary plan preparation context. Alternatives to traditional wills are considered in the form of will substitutes and the creation of testamentary and intervivos trusts along with discretionary and spendthrift trusts. Fiduciary duties of trustees are introduced. The class surveys disposition of personal wealth when the decedent fails to express his or her wishes and highlights select issues encountered in alternative family testamentary document execution.

Attributes: JD, LLM, LMCO.