Estate Planning

I.     Course Prefix/Number: PAR 216

       Course Name: Estate Planning

       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 estate planning. Topics include common forms of wills and trusts legal principles applicable to wills and trusts and drafting of documents by the paralegal for the supervising attorney.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. exhibit an understanding of estate and tax law, including ethical concerns that arise         in estate planning.
  2. prepare, select, and draft appropriate documents for estate planning, wills, and trusts.
  3. conduct an estate planning interview.
  4. demonstrate the ability to apply estate and tax laws to preserve assets of a client's estate.
  5. analyze the tax consequences and administration fees of a person's death in order to anticipate expenses in relation to the assets of the client.
  6. demonstrate the ability to analyze an estate plan and determine alternative calculations which could reduce the tax obligation of the client.

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. Overview of Course
    1. Consequence of Dying Intestate
    2. Definition of Terms
  2. Laws of Descent and Distribution
    1. Statues and Cases Relating to:
      1. disclaimer
      2. renunciation
      3. advancements
    2. Procedures and Formalities for Valid Execution, Amendment, and Revision of Wills
    3. Anti Lapse Statute
    4. Doctrine of Incorporation by Reference
  3. Simple Wills
    1. A. Illinois Uniform Gift to Minors Act
    2. B. Trust and Trustee's Act in Illinois
  4. Wills with Contingent Trust Provisions
    1. Claims
    2. Outright Dispositions
      1. pecuniary legacies
      2. specific bequests
      3. residuary legacies
      4. devises
      5. exemptions
  5. Marital Deduction
    1. Federal Estate Tax Law
    2. Gift Tax Law
    3. Fractional Formulas
    4. Pecuniary Formulas
    5. Maximum Marital Deduction
    6. Credit Shelter Marital Deduction
    7. Review of Marital Deduction Will Life Insurance
    8. Options
    9. Estate and Gift Tax Consideration
    10. Liquidity Considerations
    11. State Taxes
    12. Wife's Insurance Trust
    13. Annuities
    14. Private Annuities
  6. Employee Benefits
    1. Generally
    2. Qualified Plans
    3. Non qualified Plans
    4. Stock Options
    5. Pension Reform Act of 1976 ERISA
  7. Income in Respect to Decedent
  8. Social Security
  9. Concurrent Interests
    1. Joint Tenancy
    2. Tenancy in Common
    3. Tax Considerations
    4. Community Property
  10. Living Trusts
    1. Declaration of Trust
    2. Self Declaration of Trust
    3. Short term Trusts
  11. Future Interests
    1. Definitions
    2. Vested and Contingent Interests
    3. Rule Against Perpetuities
  12. Gifts and Gift Taxes
    1. Pre 1977
    2. Post 1977
    3. Gifts in Contemplation of Death
    4. Split Gifts
    5. Marital Deduction
    6. Gift Tax Return
  13. Powers of Appointment
    1. General Power
    2. Special Power
    3. Tax Considerations
    4. Whether or Not to Exercise
  14. Charitable Dispositions
    1. Administrative Provisions
    2. Selection of Fiduciary
  15. Interview for Hypothetical Case Study
    1. Tax Calculation for Hypothetical Case Study
    2. Hypothetical Probate Situation
  16. Ethical Concerns in Estate Planning

VII.  Methods of Instruction

  1. Lectures
  2. Student discussion of case studies

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.

Hower, Wills, Trusts and Estate Administration for Paralegal, 6th edition, Delmar, 2008.
West, Probate Act and Related Laws, 2005 edition, West, 2005.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Examinations and quizzes
  2. Evaluation of student preparation of forms and documents.

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.