Estate Planning Certificate
The Estate Planning Certificate program has two tracks, one for attorneys and the other for accountants and other highly qualified professionals.
The attorney track entails six courses totaling eleven credit hours including:
Probate Process and Practice: 1 credit. Coverage: The course deals with the nuts and bolts of the probate and estate administration process in Pennsylvania.
Federal Wealth Transfer Taxation: 2 credits. Coverage: Federal wealth-transfer taxes—the gift, estate, and generation-skipping provisions and their application to commonly encountered transactions.
Income Taxation of Trusts and Estates: 2 credits. Coverage:
Estate Planning I: 2 credits. Coverage: Estate planning devices and techniques.
Estate Planning II: 2 credits. Coverage: Advanced estate planning devices and techniques.
Elective course: one of these two-credit courses:
- Estate Administration (formerly Post Mortem Estate Planning)
- Taxation of S Corporations
In addition, all certificate students are required to register and take the six-hour Distance Learning Seminar on Professional Responsibility in Federal Tax Practice (no tuition is charged), and attend the New Student Orientation.
The non-attorney track requires all of the courses described above, but the non-attorney must also take as the first course in the certificate program the two-credit Legal Orientation course that is required for all M.T. students. As a result, non-attorneys need 13 credits to qualify for the certificate.
Same as the requirements for admission to the LL.M. program: a J.D. degree, regardless of when awarded, with an acceptable cumulative grade point average.
Accountants: (i) If the applicant has passed the CPA exam, there are no other requirements; (ii) if not, then an undergraduate degree in accounting with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average, plus the Graduate Management Admission Test with an acceptable score, plus at least one year’s professional tax experience.
Non-accountants: A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university plus professional certification in the financial planning area (e.g., CLU, CFP), or extensive acceptable experience in individual business or financial planning, or both.
Examinations and Grading
With the exception of the Probate Process and Practice course, all certificate students will be examined and graded in the same manner as regular matriculated graduate tax students. As in the regular Graduate Tax Program, a cumulative 2.5 grade point average is required for the award of the certificate.
Certificate for Matriculated Graduate Tax Students
A regular matriculated LL.M. or M.T. candidate can qualify for the estate planning certificate, in addition to the regular degree, by taking all of the courses required for the certificate. Having done so, due to the 1 credit Probate Process and Practice course, the matriculated degree candidate will graduate with 25 credits instead of the regular 24 credits.
Tuition for certificate students is the same per-credit amount as for matriculated degree students.
Completion of the Program
Given an appropriate sequencing of courses, a certificate student can finish the program in one three-semester year. But, to accommodate work-schedule and other time commitments, a certificate participant has three years within which to complete the program requirements. At the beginning of the semester in which coursework will be completed, the student MUST complete the Prospective Graduation form found here. (Linked to Graduate Tax à Current Students à Forms)
Certificate Students Switching to the LL.M. or M.T. Program
Some persons who enter the certificate program may develop an interest in the regular LL.M. or M.T. degree. Since admission requirements for certificate participants generally are the equivalent of those for degree candidates, in most instances the transition to degree candidate poses no qualification problem.
Form of Certificate
The certificate awarded is a certificate of achievement that signals the successful completion of the limited course of study. Note that the certification is not an attestation as to the professional competence of the certificate holder, nor is it a formal degree.
Continuing Education Credit
CLE and CPE credit is available to attorneys and accountants who are certificate students.