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About the Book

Contemporary Trusts and Estates

Front Cover - Contemporary Trusts and Estates

Third Edition


Susan N. Gary
University of Oregon

Jerome Borison
University of Denver

Naomi R. Cahn
George Washington University

Paula A. Monopoli
University of Maryland

2017. Approximately 900 pages. ISBN: 978-1-4548-8089-9.

Need the Second Edition instead? Click here.

With Transition Guide, Teacher's Manual, and PowerPoints.

About the Book

Contemporary Trusts and Estates captures the rapid evolution of doctrine in trusts and estates law that has occurred over the past half-century in response to profound societal and demographic changes. Based on recent developments in legal education, this casebook integrates legal analysis, judgment and perspective, ethics, and practice skills. It focuses simultaneously on the theoretical foundations and practical applications of the material, teaching students by using traditional case analysis and, at the professor’s option, innovative exercises.

While the casebook covers the customary elements of a trust and estate course and focuses students on core trust and estate issues of intent and statutory analysis, it does so with three innovations:

  • Early in the semester, it provides an overview of the status of all people involved in estate planning, addressing issues such as the meaning of “spouse” and “child” and the ethical obligations of lawyers who represent multiple clients.
  • It includes exercises that are integrated into the more traditional casebook material and are designed to provide hands-on practical experience; these exercises involve skills ranging from counseling to drafting to litigation.
  • It includes numerous problems, which drill down on a particular statute or common law doctrine and require students to apply what they have learned to a hypothetical fact pattern.

The book also presents important questions that arise in trust and estate law, helping frame the policy questions and laws that provide the background to effective estate planning. Ultimately, the book’s goal is for students to understand and appreciate the interrelated aspects of all forms of estate planning — the relationship of wills to trusts to gifts to tax to medical ¬directives — and the necessity for everyone, regardless of their economic circumstances, to consider these issues.

New to the 3rd Edition:

  1. Newly designed, with Wills now presented before Trusts
  2. New problems, exercises and cases
  3. Post-Obergefell v. Hodges developments for same-sex families
  4. More material on decanting and the new Uniform Trust Decanting Act
  5. Inclusion of the Uniform Powers of Appointment Act
  6. Discussion of planning for digital assets
  7. Incorporation of 2016 ACTEC Commentary on the Model Rules
Key Features:

  • Covers Wills Before Trusts, and begins with an overview of the familial relationships at the core of all trusts and estates.
  • Uses extensive textual explanations to present the law and its many nuances.
  • Consistent with ABA requirements for schools to add more practice skills to the curriculum, includes exercises in document drafting, role-playing and letter writing to clients. 
  • Reproduces statutory materials and the Restatement, so that no separate supplement is required.
  • Explores the ethical obligations of estate planning lawyers using the MRPC and the 2016bACTEC Commentaries. 
  • Presents contemporary cases, such as Feinberg, Kuralt, and Schiavo, which reflect the development of the law into the 21st century.
  • Includes fact-based problems, requiring students to explore cases, the UPC, UTC, and other statutes, as well as the MRPC, in depth.
  • Extensive PowerPoint slides are available to enrich the classroom experience
  • Teacher’s Manual that offers suggestions on:
o Teaching the cases and statutory materials and expanding the discussion beyond what is included in the casebook
o Appropriate responses for the questions and problems
o How to evaluate each exercise
o Ways to vary assignments from year to year

Preface / Sample Chapters