Course Content and Outcome Guide for PL 109

Course Number:
PL 109
Course Title:
Estate Planning
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Approaches to estate planning, including wills, trusts, shared ownership, gifts and life insurance are covered. Includes objectives people have for estate planning, probate and the estate, and structures and results of different estate plans. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

This course is designed to provide an overview of estate planning.   We will analyze the basic tools of estate planning, including wills, trusts, shared ownership, gifts and life insurance.  We will compare the advantages and disadvantages of each of these tools as they apply to the objectives clients desire to achieve in estate planning.

Students will be provided with information about the various types of ownership of property and will discuss how these types of ownership apply to estate planning. Students will be introduced to terminology specific to estate planning.  Attention will be directed to practical estate planning procedures as they apply to tasks most typically performed by legal assistants.

This is an elective course for either a certificate or a degree in the Legal Assistant program at Portland Community College.  Course work may include, but is not limited to, the use of texts, state statutes and rules, journal articles, lecture, group discussion and activities, guest speakers, and student presentations.

Intended Outcomes for the course

  1. Distinguish among the various types of property ownership.
  2. Prepare a simple will with a testamentary trust.
  3. Analyze the various forms of inter vivos trusts and learn the appropriate uses for each.
  4. Identify alternate methods and techniques of estate planning.
  5. Prepare basic trust documents.
  6. Work with checklists and other practice aids for estate planning.
  7. Identify basic tax forms required in administering estates and trusts.
  8. Perform simple federal estate tax computations.
  9. Identify and apply ethical issues and requirements for legal assistants working in estate planning.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Examinations, written assignments, and projects.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

This course will address topics including, but not limited to
  • Ownership of Property: Fee Simple, Tenancy in Common, Joint Tenancy, Estate by the Entirety, and Life Estates.
  • Requirements for Testamentary Trusts
  • Requirements for Living (Inter Vivos) Trusts
  • Checklists for Interviewing Clients
  • Gifts, Life Insurance, and Retirement Plans
  • Qualifications and Duties of a Trustee
  • Special Interests of Aging Clients
  • Estate Taxes
  • Basics of Guardianships and Conservatorships
  • Right to Die and Other Death-Related Issues
  • Tasks Typically Performed by a Legal Assistant in Estate Planning