Wills and Estates Clinic

Estate Planning: A Career Helping People

In the Wills and Estates Clinic, you will learn the basics of ​wills and ​estate planning. Estate planning encompasses a wide variety of subjects, from planning for the most modest estates to drafting complex tax-planning trusts, as well as helping individuals with extraordinary needs plan for their loved one's futures.

We will start the class by discussing estate planning in general. We will study ethical issues and red flags to watch for.

Wills and Estates ClinicYou will also learn to effectively and efficiently interview clients. You will then learn the basics of drafting a simple estate plan:

  • Last Will and Testament
  • Statutory Durable Power of Attorney
  • Medical Power of Attorney
  • Directive to Physicians and Family
  • HIPAA release

Wills and Estates ClinicYou will then visit several off-campus locations to meet with low-income seniors to draft and execute their estate plans. You will learn not only good drafting skills, but will also hone your communication and interview skills.

You will be supervised by and learn from an attorney Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate, and a Certified Elder Law attorney. We look forward to working with you.

Course Information

In the Wills and Estates Clinic, students have the opportunity to work with experienced lawyers to represent senior citizen clients in estate planning matters. Students will learn client interviewing and counseling techniques, draft estate planning documents, and work directly with clients to execute legal documents. Class time includes some classes in the Clinical Program Space and others visiting local senior citizen centers (all within the prescribed class period). Out of class work includes drafting estate planning documents under the supervision of clinical instructors.

Pre-requisites/Co-requisites:
• Professional Responsibility -- completed, or concurrently enrolled. Students who have not completed Professional Responsibility will be automatically enrolled in a section when admitted to a clinic.

Recommended Courses:
None

Eligibility to Enroll:
• Completed first year of law school
• Must be in good academic standing
• No Honor Code violations

Credit Hours/Experiential Hours:
​​Three ​(3) hours credit.
Counts towards oral skills requirement.

Terms available:
Fall and Spring

Evaluation:
​Graded

Dropping Clinics:
Given the unique nature of clinics and the ethical obligations that arise for our attorneys when they expose students to actual client cases, students will not be allowed to drop a clinic after the first week of classes.

Faculty:
Adjunct Professors Monica Benson and Chris Parvin

Considerations

Since clinics operate differently than doctrinal, writing, and other simulation courses, students must keep in mind the following before enrolling:

  • All clinical courses meet in the Clinical Program Office located in the Star-Telegram Building at 307 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas. It is a 0.6 mile walk from the Law School building to the clinical space.

  • All 3 and 4 unit clinic courses require that students spend a minimum of 6-8 hours per week at the clinical space.

  • Per our Academic Standards, students are expected to submit logs of their time to their supervising attorneys to receive credit. Your instructor will provide you with direction of how to keep track of your time.

  • In order to provide all of our students with a clinical opportunity, you cannot enroll in more than one clinic in any one semester.

  • You may not enroll in an externship and a clinic in the same semester unless authorized by the Associate Dean for Experiential Education.

  • If you plan to be employed by a law firm, government agency, or other unit engaged in providing legal services during the semester, you must disclose the employer’s information so the clinical program can determine if there are any conflicts that prevent the student from enrolling in the clinic.

  • Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

  • Unless a special accommodation is necessary, free student parking is not available in the clinic space. The cost to valet in the Star-Telegram Building is $10. There is additional parking in the area that ranges from $6 to $10. Street metered parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Student Application

The Wills and Estates Clinic student application is available online. Students must upload a current resume (pdf) with their application.  Applications received by the enrollment deadline are considered first; additional applicants may be added on a rolling basis for later applications.

Once a student is admitted to a clinic, the student must commit to attend a mandatory clinic orientation the first Friday of the semester from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Conflicts:
Clinics operate as law firms. Conflicts may arise if students enroll in a clinic and also work in a law firm or government agency in the first semester. If you plan to intern, extern, or otherwise, work during the semester you are in clinic, you will need to discuss with Dean Herrera. On the application you will be asked to indicate if you plan to intern, extern, or work elsewhere during the semester(s) you are applying for.