PA 2204: Probate Law

Course Title: Probate Law
Course Number: PA 2204
Credits: 3 semester credits
Prerequisites: PA 1102 – Introduction to Law and Contracts (Minimum grade: 2.0 GPA Equivalent) or permission of the Paralegal Professor.
Recommendations: This course requires the knowledge of legal analysis, the ability to do light legal research based on directions provided by the instructor, and the aptitude to learn how to draft pleadings or legal documents.
Catalog Description: Examines wills, trusts, intestate succession, probate proceedings and estate administration under Minnesota Law. Provides an overview of relevant federal and state tax law as it pertains to estates. Provides practical experience in drafting estate, probate and tax documents.
Course Objectives/ Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

  • Summarize, interpret and analyze the general techniques and practices involved in a probate practice with working knowledge of estate planning as well as estate administration tools and procedures.
  • Know the differences between trusts and wills, and how to determine when one is appropriate.
  • Discriminate between powers of attorney and conservatorship/
    guardianship proceedings.
  • Review and conduct basic estate administration including estate taxation.
  • Develop, use and discuss probate and estate terminology.
  • Recall, interpret and analyze the basic rules of legal professional responsibility, ethical considerations and client confidentiality as it relates to probate.
  • Draft probate documents.
Topics Covered:
  1. Introduction to Estate Planning Law
    (3 Hours)
  2. Types of Property Ownership (1 hour)
  3. Estate interests in Real Estate (.75 hour)
  4. Methods of Transferring Property without a will and outside of statutory intestate rights (.75 hour)
  5. Intestate Succession (3 hours)
  6. Wills (4 hours)
  7. Health Care Directives (.5 hour)
  8. Trusts (3 hours)
  9. Will/Trust Project (3 hours)
  10. Probate and Project (7.5 hours)
  11. Taxation and Project (9 hours)
  12. Guardianship and Conservatorship
    (3 hours)
  13. Ethics (3 Hours)
  14. Student Success and Exams (6.5 hours)

Total Semester Hours: 48 Hours

Course Focus: To provide students with a basic understanding of estate planning, probate, guardianship/
conservatorships law and procedures. The student will be exposed to the basic requirements of will and trust drafting, estate administration and probate.
Outcomes Measures: The student may take exam(s), and complete hands-on written drafting projects such as wills, probate, estate and tax documents. These above measures may use electronic software for their preparation where appropriate.

Grading of assignments and exams may be on a numerical basis. The final grade will be a letter grade (A-F).