Estate Planning

group of young lawyers at a table
Individual and Estate Planning – Meet the Demand  

The increasing complexity of income tax, wealth transfer tax and property laws, combined with an aging baby boomer generation, have created a demand for attorneys with expertise in individual and estate planning. Miami Law is ideally positioned to meet this demand. Our well-rounded J.D. curriculum and world-class faculty provide students with the necessary background to become successful estate planners.  Courses cover not only trusts and estates and federal taxation, but also other essential related areas of law such as business planning, family law, client counseling, mediation, arbitration, and litigation skills training.  Although alumni practice all around the country, the estate planning bar in South Florida is home to many of the nation’s leading estate planning firms and practitioners which provide a local community of experts and strong employment opportunities for our graduates.  

Allison Archbold"In nine months, the Graduate Program in Estate Planning taught me concepts and techniques that would have taken me years to learn through continuing legal education courses and private practice. It was a great way to transition to a career in estate planning." 
J. Allison Archbold - J.D. '97, LL.M. in Estate Planning '07  
Archbold Law 
Sarasota, Florida 

Experiential Learning Opportunities 

Bankruptcy Clinic
Investor Rights Clinic 
Estate Planning Capstone Project – In the post-graduate program, students receive practical drafting experience preparing and drafting a hypothetical estate plan under the supervision and guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney.


Art Law   
Asset Protection*  
Business Associations 
Business Planning Seminar 
Chapter 14*  
Charitable Gifts & Foundations* 
Corporate Tax* 
Distributions from Qualified Plans*  
Drafting for Estate Planners* 
Elder Law*  
Ethical and Practical Aspects of Estate Planning* 
Family Law 
Federal Income Tax I 
Federal Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates* 
Federal Wealth Transfer Tax* 
Fiduciary Administration* 
Financial Accounting for Lawyers 
Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax* 
Income Tax for Estate Planners* 

International Estate Planning* 
Introduction to Estate Planning and Probate* 
Investment Planning*  
Life Insurance*  
Marital Deduction*  
Mediation Advocacy 
Museum Law 
Negotiation Skills 
Negotiation Skills for Client Counseling 
Partnership Tax* 
Planning for the Family Business* 
Private Foundations and Exempt Organizations 
Professional Responsibility 
Tax Procedure* 
Trusts & Estates   

*Courses in Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning 

Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning: Miami Law is one of the only law schools to offer a graduate program leading to an LL.M. in Estate Planning with in-depth, practical coverage of both the tax and non-tax issues central to individual and estate planning. The program first covers core conceptual topics in federal income and wealth transfer tax similar to those offered by graduate tax programs.  Students then take a unique spring semester curriculum of a series of one-week modular courses on advanced level tax and non-tax estate planning topics that provide students with a high level of technical expertise.  The spring courses are taught by leading experts from around the country who visit Miami Law for the one-week period of their course. 

Douglas Hoak"The Estate Planning LL.M. enabled me to make a contribution to my firm's success right from the outset. I'm certain I would be less valuable to my employer and clients had I not completed the program." 
W. Douglas Hoak - LL.M. '11  
Managing Director, Illumine Legal 
Denver Colorado 

Extracurricular Opportunities  

Business Law Society
Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Society
Tax Law Society 
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) with HOPE Public Interest Resource Center -  VITA is a nationwide program that provides free tax assistance to low-income, elderly and disabled individuals who need help with basic income tax return preparation and electronic filing. Many residents of Miami’s urban centers are in need of direct services that provide e-filing and rapid tax refunds; VITA clients receive expeditious access to funds without charging fees for the service. Law students who speak English, Spanish and Creole can be VITA volunteers and receive training from the IRS and operate a site in conjunction with the IRS during tax season.  

Student Journals

Business Law Review

Institutes / Conferences

Heckerling Insittute on Estate Planning audience shotBankruptcy Skills Annual Workshop

Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning (Pictured) - All Miami Law students are entitled to a complimentary registration for University of Miami School of Law’s Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, the nation’s premier conference for estate planning professionals.  The Institute provides students with a unique overview of the wide variety of career opportunities offered in the estate  planning industry, as well as thechance to meet and network with attorneys, trust officers, accountants, charitable giving professionals, insurance advisors, elder law specialists, wealth management professionals, and nonprofit advisors from around the country and throughout the world.   

Joint Degrees

J.D./M.B.A in Business Administration
J.D./MAcc. in Accountancy
J.D./LL.M. in Estate Planning
Triple Degree Programs for Business Majors: J.D./M.B.A. + LL.M. in Estate Planning 


A number of scholarships to support advanced study in the field of estate planning are available including:  

The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Student Writing Competition 
The American Bar Association’s Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (RPTE) Student Writing Contest 
Philip E. Heckerling Scholarship 

Lindzey Cain

After graduating law school and hoping to pursue a career in estate planning, a practicing attorney (and fellow UM LL.M. alum) advised me that I could do myself no bigger favor than to enroll in the Estate Planning LL.M. program at the University of Miami. That advice was absolutely true. In a single school year, I learned a plethora of sophisticated estate planning techniques that I have used with clients for years, gained a nation-wide network of peers and mentors, and was interviewed for, and secured, my first estate planning job in my home state of California while in the spring semester of the program. If you are serious about becoming a high-end estate planning attorney, I recommend you attend the University of Miami LL.M. in Estate Planning to avail yourself of the same opportunities that the program provided for me.”
Lindzey M. Cain, LL.M. ’14 
Associate at Anderson Law Group, Inc. 
Laguna Beach, California 

Networking and Career Development 

Networking: Students meet and network with local estate planning attorneys through local bar association meetings and alumni events as well as at the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.  

Career: Miami Law’s Career Development Office maintains a full-time advisor to assist Estate Planning students in the graduate program with their job searches, including resume review, mock interviews, and individual counseling. These students also participate in Miami Law’s on campus interview program. 

Apply Now

**Lists courses currently or recently offered in this area, but this list is not exhaustive nor does it set out a path of study.