No matter what area of law students intend to practice, chances are that their family members will ask them questions about Wills, Trusts, & Estates. But this is a specialized area where lawyers help their clients plan their financial affairs, determine how property will be distributed, comprehend the tax consequences of property distribution, and create trusts and care arrangements.
Lawyers who work in this area need to have a deep understanding of property, personal Injury and insurance, probate, and tax law. They may represent the estate and work with the executor (the individual charged with distributing the assets and paying taxes and expenses) or may represent an individual who is, or who thinks they should be, a beneficiary of a will to challenge the will’s validity. In addition, lawyers who specialize in this area help set up charitable foundations and trusts so that a client’s generosity can continue even after their death.
Lawyers who practice in this area in the private sector work in a law firm of all sizes, ranging from solo practices or specialty boutique law to larger full-service firms that want to provide the full spectrum of legal services for their corporate clients. There are also in-house opportunities, particularly with colleges, universities, or large non-profits, with attorneys working in development and planned giving. In the public sector, there may be opportunities in federal, state, and local government, who hire attorneys in probate matters or as clerks of court.
Courses designated as "primary" are foundational, while those listed as "secondary" contain relevant and related content. "Co-curricular" courses are credit-bearing extra-curricular activities, while "experiential" courses are practice-based offerings. Please keep in mind that the focus of any course will vary depending on the instructor.
The following faculty are knowledgeable about the topic and may be a useful resource for you.