LL.M. in Estate Planning

  • Master of laws (LL.M.)
  • Starting date: January; May; August
  • Tuition Fee: $42,000.00 USD
  • Language: English
  • Program type: Part-time; Full-time
  • Duration: 1 year; 2 years
  • Specialization: Taxation


Golden Gate University School of Law is the only law school in the western United States that offers a LLM in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate Law. The program has an unparalleled array of course offerings that reflect both the technical and people-oriented nature of this practice area as well the need for practical experiential learning. Students are taught by practicing attorneys and judges with many opportunities for clerkships and externships with Bay Area law firms and Superior Court Probate Departments. Graduates of this program will be fully capable of starting and running their own practices or sought after as highly trained associates for established firms. This program is designed to be compatible with the State Bar of California Legal Specialist Certification Program.


National & Regional Recognition


Taught by the same faculty from Tax LLM program, which has been repeatedly ranked by TaxTalent, a national network of tax employers and tax professionals, among the top 10LLM Tax programs nationwide, and it is the highest ranking of any California Tax LLM program. Tax LLM program is consistently listed in The Recorder's "Best LLM Programs in California."

Professional Path


Demand for skilled attorneys in this practice area has grown substantially and is predicted to continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Develop professional contacts through substantive courses supplemented with workshops, field work, and externships in taxation, trusts, estates, and elder care. One-on-one career counseling, professional and student organizations, and events with GGU Law's robust alumni network offer additional networking opportunities.




Applicants may complete their LLM degree in only one semester. Applicants may transfer up to 12 qualifying units from ABA-accredited JD or other LLM programs toward their LLM Degree, allowing them to graduate in as little as one semester. JD students may apply during the final year of their JD Program for early (provisional) admission.


To earn the LLM in Estate Planning degree, students must complete 24 units. Classes are offered both during the day as well as in the evening to accommodate working professionals. Students may attend full-time and complete the program in as few as two semesters. Alternatively, students may attend part-time. All students must finish the degree requirements within five years of matriculation. LLM students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least  2.5 on a 4.0 scale each semester.


Required Courses

  • Estate and Gift Tax (3)
  • Estate Planning (3)
  • Income Taxation for Estate Planners (1)
  • Income Tax of Trusts and Estates (2)
  • PR for Trust and Estate Practice (2)
  • Probate Procedure (3)


Elective Courses


  • 401(k) Plans I & II -- Tax and ERISA
  • Advanced Estate Planning
  • Bankruptcy Tax
  • CA Property Tax
  • Characterization of Income & Expenses
  • Combating Financial Elder Abuse
  • Comparative International Tax
  • Corporate Tax
  • Court Ordered Estate Planning
  • Drafting Estate Plans
  • Estate Planning Externship
  • Estate Planning for the Blended Family
  • Estate Planning Lab
  • Estate Planning Practice Management
  • Executive Compensation
  • Federal Tax Procedure
  • Gen. Skipping Transfer Tax
  • International Estate Planning
  • International Tax
  • IRS Litigation Clinic
  • Litigating in Probate Court
  • Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic
  • Mediating Trust and Estate Disputes
  • Partnership Tax
  • PR for Tax Practice
  • Pro Bono Tax Clinic: Sales and Use
  • Pro Bono Tax Clinic: State Income Tax
  • Probate Court Externship
  • Real Estate Tax
  • State and Local Tax
  • Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving
  • Tax Exempt Organizations
  • Tax Litigation
  • Tax Research
  • Taxation of LLC's and S-Corps
  • Taxation of Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Taxation, Politics & the Law
  • Timing of Income & Expenditures
  • Transfer Pricing I & II
  • Value Added Tax
  • Wills & Trusts

With Taxation


Students may earn both an LLM in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate and an LLM in Taxation by completing only 34 units. To do so the student must complete the 14 units of required courses for each degree and the remaining units may be fulfilled from electives.



LLM students may earn both the LLM in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate and the Taxation Certificate, or the student may choose the certificate only. The Taxation Certificate is awarded to those students who complete the following required 14 units:


  • Characterization of Income & Expenditures (3 units)
  • Timing of Income & Expenditures (2 units)
  • Corporate Taxation (3 units)
  • Federal Tax Procedure (3 units)
  • Professional Responsibility for Tax Practice (2 units)
  • Tax Research (1 unit)

To obtain both the LLM in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate and the Taxation Certificate, LLM students must complete the 14 units listed above in addition to the required courses in the LLM in Estate Planning, Trust, and Probate.