LL.M. in Elder Law - Course Descriptions
Elder Law LL.M. Required Courses
Aging and the Law (3 credits)
Long-Term Care Planning (3 credits)
Tax and the Elder Law Client (3 credits)
Ethics in the Practice of Elder Law (3 credits)
Guardianship and Alternatives (3 credits)
Retirement Planning (3 credits)
Select Topics in Elder Law (1 credit) (Three-day on-campus course taken in the student's first Fall semester)
Elder Law LL.M. Elective Courses (students select two to four)
Disability Law (3 credits)
Government and Private Health Benefits (3 credits)
Estate Planning and Drafting (3 credits)
Veterans' Benefits (3 credits)
AGING AND THE LAW
This course examines various issues in elder law, including the psychology and physiology of aging. Topics include autonomy, surrogate decision-making, elder abuse, ethics, aging in place, planning for long-term care, ageism, discrimination, the criminal justice system, and interdisciplinary approaches to client representation.
This course will cover the foundations of Special Needs and Disability Law: the issues, laws, and regulations concerning individuals with disabilities, including access, employment, education, services and benefits, civil rights, discrimination, Social Security Disability, and the hearings and appeals process. (Note: Long-Term Care Planning is required, but with the approval of the Director of the LL.M. in Elder law, Disability Law may be substituted.)
ESTATE PLANNING AND DRAFTING
This course will cover the various planning documents available when middle-income elders wish to complete estate planning. The course will cover the estate and gift tax thresholds; examine the typical planning documents (intervolves trust, durable power of attorney, pour‐over will, and health care agent), and the laws and issues in using those various documents.
ETHICS IN THE PRACTICE OF ELDER LAW
This course reviews the ethical issues frequently presented to an attorney representing people who are older or disabled through an examination of the Model Rules and comments, Restatements, and other authorities. Issues covered include "who is the client?", loyalty, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, clients with diminished capacity, former clients, prospective clients, joint representation, and the lawyer's role as a counselor.
GOVERNMENT AND PRIVATE HEALTH BENEFITS
This course examines the various benefits plans provided by private and governmental health plans, including Medicare and Medicaid programs, managed care plans, regulation and access, policy issues, and recent developments.
GUARDIANSHIPS & ALTERNATIVES
This course examines the causes of incapacity, behaviors of those with dementia, aphasia, etc., alternatives to guardianship for property and health care decisions (durable power of attorney, property management tactics as alternatives, advance directives), capacity assessments, the process of declaring a person incapacitated, selection and appointment of a guardian, administration, closing of a guardianship, and mediation.
INTRODUCTION TO ELDER LAW
This course is for those LLM students who have limited or no experience in Elder Law and is a condition of admission. This introductory course is a survey of all of the unique areas of elder law. The emphasis is on introducing the student to the issues and vocabulary of elder law. Subjects include Guardianship, Government Benefits; Estate Planning, and Ethics.
LONG-TERM CARE PLANNING
This course examines the issues concerning long-term care, including planning for long-term care, services, paying for care, including long-term care insurance, provisions of services including in-home and institutional care, and the policies concerning long-term care.
This course examines institutional forms of retirement planning, including family and community support, employer-sponsored pension plans, and personal savings in the form of tangible and intangible assets. The course also looks at the federal income tax consequences of pension plan distributions, spousal rights and benefits under employer-sponsored pension plans, employer and third-party service provider fiduciary duties and fiduciary liability issues, and estate planning strategies related to retirement savings.
This three-day in-person course is in conjunction with the Annual Special Needs Trusts conference. Students attend two days of the conference and a third day on campus, covering issues that are currently being discussed and debated in the elder law profession as a whole.
(Note: this is the only in-person course required for this degree. Students are not charged tuition but must pay a registration fee for the conference as well as travel and lodging expenses. Attendance is required unless excused by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and the Director of the LL.M.)
TAX AND THE ELDER LAW CLIENT
This course will be a survey of various issues of tax that apply in an elder law practice, including issues concerning Social Security, retirement plan or life insurance distributions, compensation, proceeds from the sale of a personal residence, deductions, tax credits, filing and estimated tax payment requirements, taxation of trusts, Medical expenses, IRAs, caregiver expenses, and long-term care.
This course examines the issues that arise for veterans regarding the application, grant, and denial of benefits within the Department of Veterans Affairs. The course will cover the various programs and benefits available, eligibility for programs and services, and the hearings and appeals process.
Please note: Course descriptions are intended to be only a general summary of course content.