The Graduate Tax Program’s Estate Planning Certificate is available in online and residential formats (or a combination of both formats). All of the courses in the Estate Planning Certificate are taught by the same leading tax and estate planning experts who teach in the Graduate Tax Program.
- 2 Semesters
- 6 Courses
- 12 Credits
Students are eligible to apply for entry into the Certificate program for the fall, spring and summer semesters. Residential entry is only allowed in the fall and spring semester.
Students enrolled in the program are not currently eligible for merit-based financial aid. Certificate candidates are also not eligible to apply for federal loans in order to finance their studies.
While the Graduate Tax Program (which confers the LLM in Taxation) requires applicants to have a first degree in law, or its equivalent, the Estate Planning Certificate is open to non-lawyers. All other Graduate Tax Program application requirements remain in place for Certificate applicants. A strong performance in the Certificate program will be considered for any applicants who wish to be considered for the LLM in Taxation degree.
Tuition and Fees
As a part-time program, students are charged tuition on a per credit basis each semester. The per credit cost for the certificate is listed here.
Students should have demonstrated prior coursework or professional experience that matches the content of our Federal Income Tax I and II classes. Students with professional experience in this area or with prior course work that covers the same material can begin taking classes that count towards the Certificate immediately. Students without this previous course work or experience must complete our Federal Income Tax I and II classes with a grade of B or better before enrolling in Certificate courses. The credits earned through completing the Federal Income Tax I and II classes WILL NOT count towards the 12 credits required for the Certificate.
Students must complete all three of the required courses, and any three of the listed electives to earn the certificate.
Estate and Gift Taxation: LAW TX 904
Principle issues of estate and gift taxation. Topics include the definition of taxable gifts and exclusions and deductions; determination of the taxable estate of a decedent including problems with lifetime transfers; valuation issues; deductions from the taxable estate with special emphasis on property passing to a spouse; and transfers with retained interests. Reference is made throughout to planning issues relating to estate and gift taxation and is designed to give both a requisite background for those intending additional study of estate planning and a comfortable familiarity with the subject for those going on to other tax fields.FALL 2023: LAW TX 904 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 5th 2023
|Tue||6:30 pm||8:30 pm||2||Imelda Monaghan|
Estate Planning: LAW TX 935
This course will examine in depth the theoretical and practical aspects of a variety of estate planning strategies currently being used in the real world. The primary focus of the course will be on federal income, estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer tax issues which arise in the estate planning context, although other planning issues, including professional ethics, will also be considered. The course will use case studies of specific tax driven planning strategies, including grantor trusts, marital deduction trusts, post-mortem planning, and planning for incapacity. Prerequisite or corequisite: Federal Income Taxation I and Estate and Gift TaxFALL 2023: LAW TX 935 A1 , Sep 5th to Dec 5th 2023
|Tue||4:20 pm||6:20 pm||2||Langa|
Taxation of Trusts and Fiduciaries: LAW TX 937
Income tax consequences arising upon the death of a decedent and special income tax treatments of estates, trusts, and fiduciaries. Topics include determination of gross income and allocation between the decedent and the estate or trust; special problems with income in respect of a decedent; separate and conduit taxation of estates and trusts; allocation of tax attributes between an estate or trust and its beneficiaries; grantor trust rules, and other topics. Prerequisite: Federal Income Taxation I.
Business Succession Planning: LAW TX 969
This course will cover the practical, tax, financial, accounting and ethical considerations in succession planning for the family business owner. It will propose strategies to deal with the psychological hurdles and pitfalls business owners face when doing this planning, such as giving up control or equity in the business during their lives and determining equitable ways to treat children actively involved in the business and children who will not participate in operating the family business. It will compare the various vehicles used in succession planning and discuss the different levels of protection and the fiduciary standards between using a trust, business entity and private trust company to encourage entrepreneurship. It will discuss ways to separate the business's control and equity for purposes of doing lifetime planning for the business owner as well as for benefiting children both inside and outside of the business. It will compare the typical estate planning strategies for family business owners, including life insurance trusts, buy-sell agreements, GRATs, sales to grantor trusts and freeze partnerships. It will also cover the ethical issues involved when working with business owners in their succession planning, including identifying who your client is, navigating conflicts when doing planning with the business in trusts or otherwise and provide best practice and practical tips for advisors to avoid these ethical dilemmas. The materials will also deal with passing on an operating business to key employees while retaining a portion to pass on to one's children. The materials will cover income tax planning that can be used when a senior family member intends to sell the family business for cash while still alive, when an earnout is part of the sale, the pre-sale due diligence a business owner should undertake before the business is offered for sale, and how the income tax costs in a lifetime sale can be reduced by integrating lifetime charitable planning. Prerequisites: TX901, TX902, TX930, TX933, TX904
Elder Law: LAW TX 977
Understanding the differences between Medicare and Medicaid. Exploring the operation of a Durable Power of Attorney and a Health Care Proxy in connection with the admission of a loved one to a nursing home. A walk through the Federal and corresponding Massachusetts Medicaid Regulations as they relate to: understanding what is a countable and non countable asset for Medicaid eligibility purposes: exploring the five year look back period versus the period of ineligibility resulting from disqualifying transfers along with related exceptions to these rules; discuss real estate as a countable and non countable asset including the different treatment of a primary residence, vacation home and rental properties along with ways to convert these countable assets to non countable assets; last minute planning techniques with annuities and personal care contracts; understanding the drafting and operation of Medicaid Irrevocable Trusts including a complete analysis of the Income, Gift and Estate Tax consequences of using these trusts from Grantor Trust rules to step up in basis, use of life estates along with real life fact patterns that explain the planning opportunities and related pitfalls to be avoided.
Est Plan & Draf: LAW TX 975
This course description is currently under construction.
Estate Planning- Advanced: LAW TX 934
This course picks up the estate planning course (TX 935) leaves off. We will survey several "cutting edge" estate planning techniques-techniques that permit the transfer of large amounts of wealth at little or no gift tax or estate tax cost. We will zero in on valuation rules that apply to the estate tax and gift tax; we will discuss what to look for in appraisals; we will examine, in depth, the current status of planning involving family partnerships and LLCs; we will examine the rules that apply to GRATs, installment sales to "defective" grantor trusts, and how to structure transfers using these techniques; we will review the biases built into the actuarial valuation rules that the Internal Revenue Service requires us to apply; we will examine the effects of the UPC, the Uniform Trust Code, and will consider "decanting"; we will discuss some of the psychological aspects of estate planning including issues presented by parents' fears of making their children too wealthy too soon; and we will discuss trust design and the choice of trustees. There is no final exam but students will be required to write a 10 -- 15 page term paper. In addition there will be several quizzes throughout the semester. Prerequisite: Estate Planning and Estate and Gift Tax Recommended: Taxation of Trusts and Fiduciaries
International Estate Planning: LAW TX 958
The course will cover international estate planning from two perspectives: (1) U.S. citizens residing outside of the U.S. or owning assets located outside of the U.S.; and (2) foreign citizens residing in the U.S. or transferring assets in or to the U.S. U.S. gift and estate tax laws applicable to both situations will be studied in depth in a practice-oriented manner. Planning techniques and vehicles utilized in international estate planning will be explored, in particular trusts and the special U.S. income tax rules applicable to foreign trusts with U.S. beneficiaries and off-shore U.S.-grantor trusts. The impact of non-U.S. transfer taxes and tax treaties will be considered, as well as non-tax foreign laws impacting on international estate planning. The course will also cover the U.S. tax and estate planning issues applicable to "mixed marriages" where one spouse is a U.S. citizen and the other is a non-U.S. citizen, and multi-jurisdiction situations of gifts or bequests from non-U.S. donors or decedents to U.S. beneficiaries. Finally, the course will also consider cultural and ethical issues peculiar to the area of international estate planning. Prerequisite or corequisite: Estate and Gift Tax, Estate Planning
Introduction to Corporate Tax: LAW TX 933
Income tax considerations relating to transfers of assets and liabilities to a corporation (during incorporation and otherwise), non-liquidating distributions, stock redemptions, related party stock purchases and corporate liquidations. Includes an overview of the treatment of a corporate shareholder versus other shareholders. Prerequisite or corequisite: Federal Income Taxation I and IIFALL 2023: LAW TX 933 A1 , Sep 11th to Dec 4th 2023
|Mon||2:10 pm||4:10 pm||2||Wayne E. Smith|
Life Cycle of a Business Venture: LAW TX 918
The federal income tax laws significantly affect the way a business venture proceeds through the various stages of its life cycle. This course will explore the federal income tax aspects of: i) choosing the proper form of entity (typically, C corporation, S corporation or LLC) to carry on a business, ii) forming the entity that will carry on the business and issuing equity interests (and rights to acquire equity interests) in the entity to founders and other service providers, iii)financing the entity with debt and equity, iv) reporting the results of the entity's operations, v) purchasing and leasing assets, vi) buying out owners, vii) selling the business. Co- and prerequisites: Federal Income Taxation I, Federal Income Taxation II, Introduction to Corporate Tax and Partnership Tax I.
Partnership Tax I: LAW TX 930
Presents an overview of subchapter K and the federal income tax treatment of partnerships and other entities, such as limited liability companies;. Topics include tax classification of a partnership versus a corporation or trust; considerations in choice of entity;basic partnership accounting and capital accounts, partnership formation and acquisition of partnership interests for property or services; determination of basis;basic rules allocations of income and loss ; taxation of normal partnership operations; distributions of cash and property; transactions between partners and partnership, including sales of partnership interests. Prerequisite or corequisite: Federal Income Taxation I and II, Introduction to Corporate Tax
Tax Aspects of Buying and Selling a Business: LAW TX 920
A comprehensive course on how business owners can buy and sell businesses with a minimum tax cost and maximum after-tax return. The strategies for selling a business are often implemented from the moment the business entity is originally formed. The course will examine the crucial strategies, from choice of entity, to conducting ongoing operations, to the correct way to change or restructure existing C corporations, S corporations and other entities. The course will also examine the best way to structure a sale of a particular business, based on both the form of legal entity and on the specific facts in a case. For example, the course will compare a sale of stock to a sale of assets; will compare a sale for cash to a tax free transaction or part-cash, part-stock transaction; and compare the differences between a sale with immediate payment versus a possible installment sale. Prerequisites: Federal Income Taxation I and Federal Income Taxation II.
Tax Aspects of Charitable Giving: LAW TX 950
Charitable gift planning has long been a crucial component in wealth management and estate planning. It remains an important factor in the "tool box" of estate and tax professionals. While humanitarian commitments remain the primary motivating force behind private philanthropy, the tax benefits associated with charitable strategies and techniques have assumed greater importance as our system of taxation has grown increasingly complex. This course will examine the federal tax implications (income tax, gift tax, estate and generation skipping transfer tax, and capital gains tax) of key strategies associated with charitable gift planning for incorporation into the overall estate plan. Topics covered will include types of charitable entities, requirements of a charitable gift, charitable alternatives (private foundations, donor advised funds and supporting organizations), split interest transfers (charitable remainder and lead trusts), bargain sales, gifts of complex assets, and testamentary transfers. Case studies will be used to illustrate optimal intervivos and testamentary planning for creating flexibility while avoiding pitfalls. None. Recommended: Federal Income Taxation I, Federal Income Taxation II and Estate and Gift Taxation.
Taxation of S-Corporations: LAW TX 984
This course undertakes a detailed examination of Federal Income Taxation of S Corporations using a contextual approach so that students will be able to identify opportunities and pitfalls in the use of S Corporations. This will be accomplished through a combination of reading the Internal Revenue Code, regulations and other authorities relating to Federal Income Taxation of S Corporations. Use of S corporations in a multinational setting will also be considered. The course will emphasize, teach, expect, and measure the internalization of professional responsibilities in tax practice to clients using actual judicial decisions as well as hypothetical case studies. The inherit tension resulting from duties to clients and duties to the tax system is explored. We will also explore the various settings in which choice of entity for business operations will be a consideration and the utility of such choices for tax and non-tax purposes. Students will practice analytical and writing skills through written assignments. Since a contextual approach is used, it is expected that students will acquire knowledge of substantive tax law in addition to an understanding of ethical and legal responsibilities in federal tax practice.
World of Limited Liability Companies: LAW TX 991
LLCs have become the most popular entity for businesses. They are used in estate planning, joint ventures by large corporations, investment vehicles, small businesses, mergers and acquisitions, international transactions, operating businesses and individuals. This is a hands on course with lots of problem solving, drafting suggestions and practical approaches to dealing with these LLCs (emphasis on Subchapter K) within whatever tax discipline you practice. Co-requisite: Partnership Tax I
- The Estate Planning Certificate has received American Bar Association acquiescence.
- Students may apply for acceptance into the Tax LLM degree program either during or following completion of the Estate Planning Certificate. All credits earned as part of the Estate Planning Certificate can be applied as advanced standing credits to the 24 credits required for completion of the Tax LLM degree.
- Students must complete the Certificate courses over a maximum of nine semesters, including summer terms. This equates to approximately 3 calendar years.
- Credits earned during the Certificate are eligible for transfer to the Tax LLM degree within 4 years from the start of the Estate Planning Certificate.
Thank you for your interest in BU Law’s Graduate Programs. If you have any questions directly related to our application process, please feel free to email email@example.com at any time.