Admissions: Estate Planning LL.M.



Joining this Program is the best career decision I have made.The Heckerling Estate Planning LL.M. Program at UM provided me with the foundation necessary to transition from my previous legal career into one requiring expertise I could gain only as a student of this Program. It gave me the opportunity to learn from some of the best minds in the estate planning industry, and provided me with a vast network of professionals to build ongoing relationships with, even after graduation.”
Sean Koussevitzky, Esq., LL.M. ‘16
Regions Bank, Private Wealth Management, Coral Gables, FL

Admission to the Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning is highly selective, and decisions are made as applications are received. Candidates are therefore encouraged to complete their applications as early as possible.

What are the admissions requirements?

Performance in law school Income Tax and Trusts and Estates courses, as well as a candidate's overall law school record are of particular interest in evaluating the application. Although many students enroll each year without prior legal experience in estate planning beyond academic courses, consideration is given to any such prior experience. Prior to enrollment, applicants must have earned a J.D. or LL.B. degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and must have successfully completed the equivalent of both a J.D. trusts and estates course and a basic Federal Income Tax course at the J.D. level.

What is the admissions deadline?

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applications will be acted upon as soon as all requisite information has been received. It is, therefore advantageous to submit an application and other documents as early as possible. Applicants will be notified if any information is missing from an application. Based upon the Director's initial review, applicants will be admitted immediately, held for later decision, placed on a waitlist, or denied admission.

What documents are required to apply?

The following documents are required to complete an Estate Planning application:

  • $50 Non-Refundable Application Fee
  • Personal Statement
  • Resume
  • Verified LSDAS Report / LSAT Scores
  • Official Law School Transcripts - ABA Accredited
  • Verified Class Rank from Law School
  • Official Undergraduate Transcripts
  • Two Letters (or more) of Recommendation (Professor or Employer)

How does one apply to the joint J.D./LL.M. Program?

Miami Law Students - Applications for the Joint J.D./LL.M. under either option will be accepted from full-time first year law students from the University of Miami School of Law as early as the spring of their 1L year.

Students From Other Law Schools - Students enrolled at other law schools who wish to apply to the joint J.D./LL.M. Program may do so in their 2L year. Applicants from other law schools must submit a letter from their home school dean confirming that our Graduate Program credits will be accepted for transfer toward their J.D. degree.

How to Apply
Application to the University of Miami School of Law may be made through Miami Law's Master of Laws Programs Online Application or through LSAC's Service. (If using LSAC's Service, applicants must register and pay for the LSAC LL.M Credential Assembly Service[CAS] and Letter of Recommendation Service. Applicants must request LSAT scores separately from the CAS report.)

Frequently Asked Questions

 Is the program full-time or part-time?

Students can enroll full-time or part-time. Currently, full-time students in the LL.M. in estate planning must successfully complete 30 credit hours of require courses with a C+ or better average. The number of credit hours required to obtain the degree may vary from year to year as changes are made in the curriculum. For part-time students, all work must be completed within three years after matriculation.

 Are transfer credits accepted?

Transfer of credits for graduate level work from the University of Miami School of Law or from another accredited law school will be allowed only with the approval of the program's director.

 Are students permitted to work while studying for the Estate Planning LL.M.?

Candidates engaged in outside employment for more than fifteen hours per week may not, without the approval of the program director, enroll in more than six credit hours per semester.

 What is the cost of attendance?

 Is there financial assistance?

Financial Assistance: A limited number of tuition scholarships are available for full-time students. Information is available from the director of the graduate program. Inquiries about available loan programs may be directed to the Office of Financial Aid, University of Miami School of Law, P.O. Box 248087, Coral Gables, Florida 33124-8087. Prospective students are also invited to visit the Miami Law financial aid website, or contact the office by phone at 305-284-3115 or by e-mail at

Estate Planning Fellowships: A limited number of fellowships to support advanced study in the field of estate planning are available to full-time students in the University of Miami School of Law's Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning. Estate Planning Fellows are chosen on the basis of academic merit and the potential for excellence in the field of estate planning. Additional information is available from the director of the graduate program.

ABA Full-Tuition Scholarship The ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law offers a scholarship via a writing competition.

"My LL.M. in estate planning is a tremendous asset. It has given me the knowledge and confidence needed to practice in one of the nation's largest estate planning departments."
Marve Ann M. Alaimo - LL.M. '98
Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLM, Naples, Florida



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Please contact Laura Adams, Program Coordinator at:
Phone: 305-284-4918
Fax: 305-284-6752

Mailing Address
University of Miami School of Law
Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning
1311 Miller Drive Room C-423
Coral Gables, FL 33146

Program Director

Tina Portuondo
Tina Portuondo the Director of the Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning and the Director of the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. She joined the Law School after practicing in the areas of tax and estate planning in New York and Miami. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estates (ACTEC) and the Past Chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section

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