Teaching Wills and Trusts: The Jurisdictional Problem

8 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2014

Date Written: February 3, 2014


In this essay, written for the teaching issue of the SLU Law Journal, I address the problem of how best to focus a course in Wills and Trusts in light of the fact that the applicable rules vary widely from state to state. This legal heterogeneity makes generalization about the “laws” of inheritance difficult. I argue against confining class presentations either to local state law, which is unacceptably parochial, or to the model laws found in the Uniform Acts and Restatements, whose influence on actual law has been limited. I advocate instead an approach that endeavors to communicate to students the richness of alternative rules that different states have developed, as a vehicle for encouraging students to think creatively about the public policy of those rules, and about the strengths and weaknesses of the alternative approaches that are currently extant.

Keywords: wills, trusts, estates, uniform acts, restatements, state laws, teaching

JEL Classification: K11, K19, K30, K39

Suggested Citation

Hirsch, Adam Jay, Teaching Wills and Trusts: The Jurisdictional Problem (February 3, 2014). St. Louis University Law Journal, Vol. 58, No. 3, 2014; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 14-150. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2407296

Adam Jay Hirsch (Contact Author)

University of San Diego ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
United States

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