Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning (LL.M.)

Estate Planning

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NEW! Full-Tuition Scholarships from ABA Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law and ACTEC American College of Trust & Estate Counsel

The Right Time to Consider This Degree

The aging baby boomer generation has set the stage for the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in history. This, combined with increasing complexity of income tax, wealth transfer tax, property laws, and today’s changing economic environment, has created a demand for attorneys with expertise in individual and estate planning. 

Attorneys can meet this demand with the only full-time LL.M. program in estate planning, and position themselves to meet this growing need with an LL.M. that offers a unique combination of tax and estate planning courses unavailable elsewhere.  

Choose From a Variety of Career Paths

The Heckerling Graduate program offers career development for students seeking successful and rewarding professions. With an Estate Planning LL.M. job opportunities can include:

  • Large law firm attorney
  • Boutique estate planning firm attorney
  • Bank or trust company officer
  • Internal Revenue Service position
  • Wealth manager at bank or investment house
  • In-house or independent attorney for public or private charity
  • Tax and probate litigator
    More on career development

How Does this Degree Differ from a Tax LLM?

The unique program prepares attorneys to deal with the tax implications of wealth transfers and with the related non-tax, investment and business succession planning issues. The breadth and depth of coverage of both the tax and non-tax aspects of individual and estate planning distinguishes the curriculum from traditional graduate tax programs. Tax LL.M. programs may offer a cluster of survey courses on estate planning, but cannot match the in-depth, practical focus of Miami Law’s spring semester classes which cover exclusively essential non-tax issues including fiduciary administration, asset protection, life insurance, investment planning, elder law, and probate. 

The Heckerling LL.M. Difference

The program's structure and faculty truly set it apart from other graduate programs in estate planning.

Strong Camaraderie: Students and Alumni
The graduate program fosters close connections with fellow students who progress together through two semesters of small seminar style classes. Lifelong relationships are nurtured by annual alumni reunions at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning. Small classes also create close ties with faculty and students not only develop a close core relationship with each other, but also join a national network of distinguished estate planners upon graduation.

Purposeful Course Scheduling
The graduate program begins with a traditional 14-week fall fall semester of  foundational course work covering core conceptual topics that provide the foundation for the spring semester. Building on the fall, the Graduate Program’s unique spring semester consists of a series of one-week, one credit modular courses on advanced-level tax and estate planning to give students a high level of technical expertise. Students are also invited to attend the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, the nation's largest educational conference for estate planning professionals.

Exceptional Faculty & Mentoring
Unmatched in graduate-level legal education, nationally recognized experts and faculty in the field of estate planning teach in the program. Select program size also allows for personalized attention - students prepare and draft an estate plan working under the direct supervision and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney. 

A History of Excellence 
The late Philip E. Heckerling was a member of Miami Law’s faculty from 1963-1983. A professional to the core, Professor Heckerling was an active member of the FL Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the American College of Probate Counsel, and the American Law Institute. From his early years in trust work, he was a man with a passion for improving the technical competence of estate planners. In pursuit of his goal, he created the University of Miami School of Law's Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning in 1967 as a place for experts to gather and refine their skills. He nurtured it through the years of its phenomenal growth to its position as the largest and most respected continuing education program for estate planners today. That passion led him to also establish this graduate LL.M. program in estate planning, which is named in his honor.

Ganon J. Studenberg, J.D., LL.M. 2008

"The Graduate Program in Estate Planning at UM is mandatory for a successful career in sophisticated estate planning and complex trust and estate administrations."
Ganon J. Studenberg, J.D., LL.M. '08
Studenberg Law, Melbourne, 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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