House Bill 2504

Spring 2011 Course Syllabus

LGLA-1353-01 (Wills Trusts-Probate Admin)

Faculty Information
SemesterSpring 2011
InstructorPhares, Harry Banker
Phone(936) 234-9196
Business and Technology
Chair:Michael Trahan
Telephone:(409) 984-6378
Room #:N/A
Course Information
Course ID #10205
Course Subject-Number-SectionLGLA-1353-01
Course TitleWills Trusts-Probate Admin
Course Description The fundamental concepts of the law of wills, trusts and probate administration with emphasis on the paralegalÆs role.
Course Prerequisites LGLA 1307 taken concurrently or prior to this course
Required Textbooks Administration of Wills, Trusts, and Estates, G. Brown, fourth edition,

Delmar Cengage Publishing

Learning Objectives This course presents fundamental concepts of the law of wills, trusts, and probate administration with emphasis on the paralegal's role.

This course is designed to familiarize the student with the more common types of trusts, wills, and probate procedures. The following is a detail of specific objectives.

1.        Identify the need for estate planning.

2.        Explain the application of each of the probate procedures available in Texas.

3.        Organize client information into a Will.

4.        Draft various types of Wills.

5.        Identify various types of trusts and be able to determine the applicability of each to client.

6.        Explain the duties of trustees.

7.        Classify trusts.

8.        Request client probate information.

9.        Prepare documents for probate.

10.        Distinguish between the various proceedings utilized in the probate process.

11.        Assist with execution of will and trust documents.

12.Distinguish between ethical and unethical behavior.

Major Assignments Course Calendar: In the left hand margin of the information which follows, there is a listing of the week in which the material will be discussed in class. An attempt has been made to have the week in class correspond to the chapter; e.g. third week – third chapter.

Topics covered during this course include:

Discussion Topics Course Outline:                                                                 Hours Devoted

A. Wills

1.         Purposes        ¼

2.         Requirements        

        a. Attested wills        2-3/4

        b. Holographic wills        2

        c. Nuncupative wills        1

3.         Witnesses        ½

4.         Self-proving affidavits        ½

5.         Will revocation

        a. By operation of law        ½

        b. By subsequent writing        ½

        c. By physical act        ½

6.        Incorporating by reference        ½

7.        Lapsed gifts        ¾

8.        Classification of legacies        ½

9.        Stock        ½

10.        Ademption        ¼

11.        Class gifts        ¾

12.         Contesting wills        1

13.        Contracts relating to wills        ¼

14.        Mutual wills        ¼

15.        Joint wills        ½

16.         No contests clause        ¼

17.        Ethical responsibilities of the paralegal        1

B. Intestacy

1.         Separate property distribution        3

2.         Community property distribution        2

C. Estate Administration

1.         Venue issues        1

2.         Independent administration        3

3.         Dependent administration        2

4.         Community property administration        1 ½

5.         Simplified administration

        a. Muniment of title        ½

        b. Statutory proceeding to determine heirship        ½

        c. Informal family settlements        1/2

        d. Order of no necessity for administration        1/4

        e. Small estate administration        ½

6. Claims of Creditors        1 ½

7. Personal representative compensation        ¼

8. Homestead exemptions

a. Urban        1

b. Rural        1

9. Exempt personal property        3

10. Family Allowance        ½

11. Ethical duties of the paralegal        1

D. Trusts

1. Background        ½

2. Parties        ¼

3. Structure        1 ½

4. Revocability        ¼

5. Special arrangements called trusts        ¾

6. Private trusts        2 ¼

7. Charitable trusts        1

8. Creditors rights to beneficiaries’ trust interest        ¾

9. Termination of trusts        ½

10. Modifying trusts         ½

11. Fiduciary Responsibilities of Trustees        ¾

12. Ancillary trustees        ¼

13. The ethics of trust preparation and administration        ¾

Attendance Policy Required Attendance for Course: Each class meeting is the equivalent of three one hour classes. One absence from each class meeting is allowed without excuse. Other absences require acceptable excuse. If absent without acceptable excuse, additional course work may be assigned.
Determination of Final Grade Exams for Course: Three, each of equal value. The Final will be one of the three tests and will have a value equal to a test. There will be no quizzes or homework (unless needed to make up for an unexcused absence). There will be an advance reading assignment each week. A legitimate excuse must be presented in order to make-up a missed exam. If a student has a D or lower average for the first two tests, the student will be required to take a comprehensive final.
Final Exam Date May 11, 2011 - 6:30 PM
Campus Policies
Lamar State College - Port Arthur

Mission Statement

Lamar State College-Port Arthur is an open-access, comprehensive public two-year college offering quality instruction leading to associate degrees and a variety of certificates. The college, a member of The Texas State University System, has provided affordable, quality educational opportunities to residents of the Southeast Texas area since 1909.Lamar State College-Port Arthur embraces the premise that education is an ongoing process that enhances career potential, broadens intellectual horizons, and enriches life. The faculty, staff, and administration share a commitment to a mission characterized by student learning, diversity, and community service. The foundations for student success include compensatory education programs designed to fulfill our commitment to accommodate students with diverse goals and backgrounds, technical education programs that provide for the acquisition of the skills and demeanor necessary for initial and continued employment, and a core curriculum that develops the values and concepts that allow the student to make a meaningful contribution in the workplace or community. Student achievement is measured by the completion of courses and programs of study, successful performance following transfer to a baccalaureate program, and the attainment of individual goals.

Lamar State College-Port Arthur operates in the belief that all individuals should be:

* Treated with dignity and respect;

* Afforded equal opportunity to acquire a complete educational experience;

* Given an opportunity to discover and develop their special aptitudes and insights;

* Provided and opportunity to equip themselves for a fulfilling life and responsible citizenship in a world characterized by change.

 College Grading Scale

Below 59F

(Some specialized programs may have different grading scales)


 Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated.  Please consult the student handbook for consequences of academic dishonesty.  These policies will be strictly enforced.


 Facility  Policies

        No food, drinks, or tobacco products are allowed in the classroom.

        Only students enrolled in the course are allowed in the classroom.

        Cell phones and/or pagers are allowed ONLY on vibrate mode. Leaving the classroom to answer a page or phone call may constitute an absence or a tardy.


 Special Considerations

         The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Special Populations Coordinator, Room 231, in the Madison Monroe Building. The phone number is (409) 984-6241.

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