3 credits. Letter grades only.
The newest addition to Cornell Law School’s Clinical Programs, the Estate Planning Clinic aims to provide students with the unique opportunity of enriching and furthering their legal awareness and experience beyond the classroom environment.Participants will gain valuable, practical experience by assisting people from the local community with some of their more basic estate planning needs, thereby applying their theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios. The students’ best skills will be put to practice while they work towards creating an atmosphere of trust and comfort for their clients and learning the essentials of establishing solid attorney-client relationships. Specifically, students will be working in pairs under supervision of faculty to prepare an actual estate plan for the client which includes a last will and testament, a living will, a health care proxy and a power of attorney along with the statutory major gifts rider (if applicable). Students will take part in the entire estate planning process from the initial informational intake meeting, to the preparation of the client’s estate planning documents, to discussing the drafts with the clients along with addressing their comments and changes and to preparing and assisting with the execution of the client’s estate planning documents. To further enhance the learning experience, lectures will be provided on the fundamentals of estate planning from establishing a healthy attorney-client relationship, drafting considerations for the client’s last will and testament, basic related estate and income tax issues, ethical issues and the administration of the client’s estate upon death. The classroom component of the course ensures that students understand not only the legal issues but also the practical and human issues involved in a trusts and estates practice.