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Wills, Trusts, and Estates in Focus

  • Naomi R. Cahn
  • Alyssa DiRusso
  • Susan N. Gary
Series / Focus Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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In a typical Wills, Trusts, and Estates (WTE) class there are both students who want to practice in WTE (either exclusively, or as part of a general practice), and those who need only to master the general concepts in order to pass the bar exam. Wills, Trusts, and Estates in Focus by Naomi R. Cahn, Alyssa DiRusso, and Susan Gary attends to the needs of both sets of students. For those who will practice in WTE, the concepts are presented in an engaging way and exemplified by realistic hypothetical scenarios that mirror practice and support the development of lawyering skills. For those who need only to pass the bar, the organization of the text is keyed to multi-state essay examination topics as presented on the multi-state bar exam.

The well-crafted pedagogy of the Focus Series makes WTE concepts and procedure clear and accessible for all students. Case Previews shed light on each succinctly-edited case, provide legal context, and direct students to the issue at hand. Post-Case Follow-Ups review the decision and prepare students to apply the relevant legal principles to the set of exercises that follow, called Real Life Applications.Professors will appreciate the accessible approach of Wills, Trusts, and Estates in Focus, which combines straightforward narrative explanations with real-world examples, and problems designed to engage students in active learning.

Features of Wills, Trusts, and Estates in Focus:

  • Insightful authorship: The author team consists of three well-known academics with expertise in WTE and complementary areas such as family law, charities, elder law, and tax. All are elected Fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the leading professional organization of trust and estates attorneys.
  • Conscious modernization of the WTE casebook that balances major landmark cases and 21st century authorities, including recent case decisions and developments in the law (such as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)
  • Thorough coverage of core topics, combined with the Focus Series pedagogy
  • Manageable problem sets that allow students to apply doctrine to realistic fact scenarios
  • Research and drafting exercises that support the development of practice-based skills


Professors and students will benefit from:

  • Clear writing that promotes the learning outcomes of student competencies in
    1. knowledge and understanding of both the substantive and procedural law of WTE
    2. legal analysis and reasoning
    3. problem-solving
    4. how to exercise proper professional and ethical responsibilities with regard to clients and the legal system
  • A balanced emphasis on practice readiness and bar-exam readiness
  • An author team with experience writing for students, practitioners, and lay people
  • A clear and logical book structure and chapter organization, with cross-references to related coverage in other chapters
  • Appendices that provide examples of how doctrine maps on to practice, as in will contest pleadings and probate filings


Teaching materials include:

  • Teacher’s Manual with straightforward case summaries and answers to all problems
  • Sample 3-credit syllabus



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