I.     Course Prefix/Number: PAR 212

       Course Name: Probate

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

PAR 101 and PAR 110, both with minimum grade of C. Recommended: PAR 113 and PAR 210 or consent of program coordinator.

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course covers the role of the paralegal in probate matters. Topics include the principles, history, and sources of probate law probate court forms and tax returns and gathering information and preparing documents for the paralegal's supervising attorney.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. demonstrate an understanding of wills and intestacy law.
  2. show an understanding of the process of administering a probate estate.
  3. explain the role of a paralegal with regards to wills and probate estates.
  4. demonstrate the ability to draft the documents necessary for the administration of a probate estate.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction
    1. Historical overview
    2. Functions overview
    3. Terms
  2. Estates
    1. Purposes of estate administration
    2. Duties of the fiduciary--executors and administrators
    3. Intestate estates
    4. Testate estates
      1. Requirements for a valid will
      2. Will contests
      3. Will construction
    5. Trusts
      1. Inter vivos
      2. Testamentary
      3. Pour over
  3. Estate Proceedings
    1. Preliminaries: funeral arrangements; information gathering, immediate needs of survivors
    2. Opening estate
    3. Proofs: heirship; wills
    4. Counseling Personal Representative
      1. Probate purpose and procedures overview
      2. Fiduciary duties
      3. Inventory and appraisal
      4. Widow and child allowances
      5. Bookkeeping
      6. Miscellaneous matters
    5. Taxes: estate income; federal estate and gift; others
    6. Claims against the estate
    7. Accounts (current and final) and distribution
    8. Alternatives to fully supervised probate
    9. Ethics of Estate Proceedings
  4. Estate Property
    1. Realty and personality
    2. Probate (subject to administration) and non probate assets
    3. Special public records and private records and special procedures related thereto
  5. Other Probate Matters
    1. Minors' estates
    2. Disabled person's estates
    3. Other ancillary matters

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lecture and discussion
  2. Cases
  3. Study problems
  4. Questions
  5. Assignments in required text

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  1. Reading Assignments
  2. Writing Assignments

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Brown, Administration of Wills, Trusts, Estates, 3rd edition, Delmar.
West, West Probate Act, 2003 edition.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Midterm and final examinations
  2. Homework and drafting assignments
  3. Study problems in Intestacy
  4. Attendance and participation

XI.   Other Course Information

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.