LL.M. in Estate Planning and Elder Law Course Descriptions 

Required Courses

LLME 801       Wills and Trusts: Design, Drafting and Implementation
In this course, students will learn to design and draft wills and trusts. The course is an intensive study of the laws of wills and trusts. Students will learn the basic skills necessary to transfer property from the owner to the beneficiary in an efficient manner and to draft the documents and presentations that are an integral part of estate planning.    

LLME 802       Fiduciary Administration
This course is a survey of the fiduciary powers and duties of executors and trustees in the administration of estates and trusts. Topics will include qualifications of a fiduciary, potential liabilities, and conflicts of interests of a fiduciary. Special consideration will be given to an attorney's role in representing the estate, the trust, and/or the fiduciary.    

LLME 803       Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes
This course is a study of the basic principles of the federal transfer tax system, including estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping tax. The topics included in this course are retained interests, powers of appointment, lifetime transfers, life insurance, marital deduction, definition of gift, transfers to revocable and irrevocable trusts, and gifts to minors.    

LLME 804       Federal Income Taxation of Estates & Trusts
This course studies the income tax issues for estates, trusts, and beneficiaries. Topics that will be examined include grantor trust rules, simple trusts, complex trusts, distributable net income, distributions in-kind, assignment of income, and income in respect of a decedent.    

LLME 806       Final Drafting Project (4 hours)
The final project is a simulation course in which the student must design and draft a comprehensive estate plan under the supervision of an estate planner. The student will be given a hypothetical problem that will require complex estate planning. The student will be required to prepare detailed memoranda to the estate planner explaining the student’s proposed estate plan design. The project will culminate with the drafting of sophisticated estate planning documents.

LLME 807       Elder Law
This course concentrates on the legal problems associated with the elderly and issues of aging. Topics of discussion will include social, psychological, legal, and financial aspects of planning for the elderly. Issues will include Medicare benefits, Medicaid benefits, nursing home institutionalization, social security, and estate planning.    


Elective Courses

LLME 805       Wealth Planning with Life Insurance
This course will consider the various uses of life insurance in wealth planning, including funding buy/sell agreements, providing liquidity for the estate, and restoring capital used for taxes. Areas of study will include the use of irrevocable life insurance trusts, as well as various life insurance products.

LLME 808       Estate Planning for Elder Law Attorneys
This course is to study Estate Planning issues and specifically marital deduction issues that arise within the context of Elder Law planning. You can take this course even if you have taken LAW 810 Marital Deduction Planning.

LLME 810       Advanced Issues in Wealth Transfer Taxes: Marital Deduction Planning
This course will consider advanced topics in marital deduction, including the passing requirement, QTIP and non-QTIP requirements, the terminable interest rule, formula clauses, valuation, state law issues, non-citizen surviving spouse and qualified domestic trusts, the use of disclaimers, GST, and issues in post mortem estate planning. The course will be taught online using the problem approach and drafting marital deduction provisions as a solution to the problem. Proposed drafting solutions will be due approximately one week after the “chat” with respect to a problem. Prerequisites – Wills and Trusts: Design, Drafting and Implementation and Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes.

LLME 811      Advanced Issues in Wealth Transfer Taxes: Generation Skipping Transfer Tax
This course is an in-depth study of the federal generation-skipping transfer tax. Topics will include direct skips, taxable distributions, taxable terminations, definitions of skip and non-skip person, GST exclusion, allocations planning and drafting.    

LLME 812      Advanced Issues in Wealth Transfer Taxes: Chapter 14
This course will consider advanced topics in wealth and transfer taxes [chapter 14], including qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, grantor retained uni-trusts, private annuities, deferred payment sales, grantor retained income trusts, transfers with a retained interest in tangible personal property, sales of remainder interests, lapsing rights, restrictions on liquidation, options, non-commercial restrictions, loans, leases and lease-backs, and estate tax freezes and reverse freezes. The course will be taught online using the problem approach and drafting as a solution to the problems. Students will be required to participate in weekly online discussions. Prerequisites are Law 803 Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes and Law 801 Wills and Trusts: Design, Drafting and Implementation.

LLME 820       Income Tax for Estate Planners
This course will focus on income tax issues that are essential for estate planning. The topics in this course will include the income tax treatment of bequests and inheritances; the income tax treatment of gifts; basis rules; income taxation of life insurance and annuities; tax rules for sale of a personal residence; taxation of exchanges; fundamentals of capital gains; tax deferred like-kind exchanges; concepts concerning the time value of money, imputed interest and the original issue discount rules; installment sales; income in respect of a decedent; assignment of income and the income taxation of deferred compensation.

LLME 821      Tax Procedure
This course will focus on the preparation and planning of gift and estate tax returns; the administrative process involved in an audit, including settlement procedures and administrative remedies; interest and penalties; the tax collection process; ethical considerations relating to estate tax matters; and the most current issues and how they are addressed at the audit level.  

LLME 832     Business Succession Planning
This course will consider the issues that owners of closely held businesses face in the operation and disposition of their business interests. The course will consider the operational and transfer problems for unrelated business owners as well as the operational and transfer problems for family owned businesses.  Areas of study will include buy/sell agreements, life insurance, and alternative methods of succession. Note: This course was formerly called Business & Estate Planning/Closely-Held Business Entities.

LLME 833      Estate Planning for Retirement Benefits for Qualified and Non-Qualified Plans
This course will examine the income tax, estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping tax consequences of the distribution of benefits from qualified and non-qualified plans. Areas of discussion will include spousal rights, designation of beneficiaries, rollover options, and minimum distribution requirements.    

LLME 834      Planning for Charitable Transfers
This course will explore the income, estate and gift tax consequences of gifts to charities. The course will focus on the use of both public charities and private charities. Topics will include the design and drafting of charitable remainder trusts and other split interest gifts, and the use of private foundations in the estate planning process.    

LLME 836      Income Taxation of Pass-Through Entities
This course focuses on the income tax treatment of partnerships, limited liability companies, and Subchapter S corporations. Areas of study will include tax consequences from the operation of the entity, the tax consequences from retirement or death of an owner, from the redemption of an owner's interest, and from the liquidation or sale of the entity.    

LLME 838     Advanced Issues in Elder Law II
This course will be an in-depth study of a selective number of advanced topics in Elder Law that have not been covered in the basic Elder Law course, including legal capacity issues, governmental benefits, and financial and estate planning.  Prerequisite is Law 807 Elder Law.

LLME 839    Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
This course will focus on the unique issues in estate planning for same-sex couples.  Topics will include marriage, domestic partnership and civil unions as they relate to estate planning.  The planning topics will be children and family planning, advanced tax planning such as ILITs, GRITs, GRATs and family limited partnerships.

LLME 844    Medicaid Planning 
This course covers Community and Institutional Medicaid; Medicaid Waivers; Rules regarding Categorical, Medical, and Financial Eligibility; Relationship to Social Security Supplemental Security Income; Rules regarding Asset Transfers, Liens and Estate Recovery; Treatment of Spouses and other Special Individuals; and Rules regarding Trusts; Use of Trusts and Trust Drafting.  If time permits we will examine the relationship with VA Aid & Attendance benefits and how VA benefits influence Medicaid trust drafting.  There is a final paper, but a significant emphasis on class participation (especially student discussion of hypotheticals via non-real-time posts to Kodiak in between classes).  Helpful but not required: Law 807 Elder Law; Law 804 Federal Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates; Law 803 Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes; Law 801 Wills and Trusts: Design, Drafting and Implementation. 

LLME 840     Special Needs Planning
Special needs trusts and supplemental needs trusts [both commonly known as SNTs] allow a disabled beneficiary to receive gifts, inheritances, lawsuit settlements, or other funds and yet not lose his or her eligibility for certain government programs such as Supplemental Security Income [SSI] and Medicaid.  SNTs can be set up by parents or other persons for a disabled child or relative or by an individual who has become disabled as the result of an accident or medical malpractice and later receives the proceeds of a personal injury award or settlement.  This course is designed to provide a practical guide to using different types of SNTs each with its own eligibility standards-planning for and administering the trusts, integrating them into larger estate plans, and drafting tips and common traps for the planner and clients.

LLME 841     Drafting Revocable Trusts
This course is a detailed review and analysis of revocable living trusts and the role they play in estate planning, including an in-depth understanding of the effective use of various tax-based clauses. 

LLME 842     Elder Law Simulation (Formerly Advanced Issues in Elder Law III)
This course will explore advanced will and trust drafting; how to read existing trusts and spot problem issues; how to draft to meet clients' goals, address foreseeable changes in circumstances, and avoid latent and patent ambiguities.   Students will study individual clauses to understand its rationale and how and why it might be written in a particular way  The estate, tax and medicaid ramifications of various instruments will be explored.  Prerequisites are Elder Law and Elder Law II.

LLME 843     International Estate Planning
Clients with international interest are on the rise.  This course examines the profile of a multnational client in need of estate and income tax planning.  Foundational concepts, such as the reach of the U.S. transfer and income tax system outside U.S. borders are covered, as well as the situs rules for various types of assets and the concept of residency.  The operation of both credits and deductions available in an international context are explored as well as a focus on charitable planning for charities overseas.  Pre-immigration planning for the multinational coming to the U.S., as well as expatriation planning for the U.S. citizen or resident is explored, along with a focus on the recent exit tax and federal "inheritance" tax laws.  Income tax planning for both of these populations will also be covered, as well as the recent foreign bank account income and reporting issues common to these populations.  Foreign trusts, estates and beneficiaries will be discussed.  The use of tax treaties throughout all of the topics will be discussed.

LLME 845    Planning with Grantor Trusts
The Grantor Trust Rules govern when a transfer to trust is a completed transfer for income tax purposes; if the transfer is incomplete, the trust is a “Grantor Trust” and the trust income is taxed as though belonging to the grantor. From this simple concept flows powerful consequences. But while the concept is simple, the rules are not. This class walks through the Grantor Trust Rules more slowly and in much greater depth than possible in a one-semester class on Income Taxation of Trusts & Estates. In addition, students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of Grantor Trust Status as well as pitfalls and opportunities in drafting and trustee selection. We will compare & contrast the Grantor Trust Rules with the less complex rules for when a transfer is complete for gift & estate tax purposes, as well as Medicaid and SSI purposes, and thereby derive methods of drafting so that a transfer to trust is incomplete for some purposes while being complete for other purposes. Knowledge of the Grantor Trust Rules permits one to become truly a virtuoso draftsperson! Course grading is based on a combination of class participation, informal homework, and a take-home final examination.  Prerequisites:  LLME 804: Federal Income Tax of Estates & Trusts; LLME 803: Federal Wealth Transfer Taxes.


AlisonJameson