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Wills, Trusts, and Estates: The Essentials, Third Edition

  • Reid Kress Weisbord
  • David Horton
  • Stephen K. Urice
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials
Table of contents

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Wills, Trusts, and Estates: The Essentials (“Essentials”) offers a streamlined yet comprehensive presentation of wealth transfer law for an introductory law school course. Written by widely recognized scholars in the field, this text covers the core legal principles that are essential to a trusts and estates practice, including most concepts that are tested on the bar exam. For a fresh perspective, Essentials incorporates current events, lively cases, and engaging examples. It also enables students to maximize out-of-class preparation time by delivering information in an efficient, straightforward way. Each chapter contains: (1) clearly explained summaries of each doctrine, (2) explanatory narration accompanying all statutory authority, (3) thoroughly edited judicial opinions followed by analytical questions and answers, and (4) realistic problems, designed for classroom instruction, illustrating and applying doctrines and statutes.  

New to the 3rd Edition:

  • Topical coverage has been updated by incorporating summaries of, or citations to, recently decided cases illustrating current trends and debates.
    • Every chapter has been infused with a rich collection of new, relevant cases decided within the last few years.
    • To avoid the accumulation of unnecessary bulk, content from prior editions was shortened or retired to make room for new developments: the Third Edition’s scope of topical coverage is broader, but its length is slightly shorter than the Second Edition.
  • Prior coverage has been enriched with findings from cutting-edge empirical research to provide students with a realistic sense of how the practice of trusts and estates operates today.

Professors and students will benefit from:

  • Essentials makes a challenging course accessible, lively, and interactive. It is concise yet comprehensive, and adaptable for two, three, and four credit courses.
  • Essentials emphasizes the development of problem-solving skills by presenting problem sets that allow students to apply newly learned legal doctrine in realistic scenarios, mostly based on litigated cases. Many problems are as detail-rich as the cases, which facilitates in-depth discussion of doctrinal nuance. Narrative responses for each problem set appear in the Teacher’s Manual.
  • Students appreciate a straight-forward approach that does not “hide the ball”: legal doctrine is explained up front in plain English. Some students have found that the text’s plain English doctrinal summaries obviate the need to purchase a study supplement. For professors, streamlining the delivery of basic knowledge facilitates better use of class time, which can focus on analysis of problem sets and using state law distinctions from the uniform codes to reinforce student’s understanding of basic concepts.
  • The questions and answers following the judicial decisions encourage student self-assessment.
  • Most judicial opinions are accompanied by family tree diagrams (in the book and accompanying PowerPoint teaching slides), thereby allowing students to quickly ascertain the facts of each case and focus on the application of law.
  • Problems and examples employ gender-inclusive facts and illustrations that feature same-sex families. The text makes a sincere effort to promote goals of inclusion without appearing to tokenize nontraditional relationships.
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