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Estate and Elder Law Planning

Published: August 19th, 2002

Category: News

New Center Unique in Tax Law Emphasis

The University of Florida has a tradition of innovation in the field of aging, and UFLaw is uniquely capable of providing expertise to address the related legal and tax consequences.

A new Center on Estate and Elder Law Planning, directed by Professor C. Douglas Miller, will integrate teaching, training, research, scholarship and public service. The center will work closely with the Graduate Tax Program and develop a relationship with UF’s Center for Gerontological Studies.

“There is no similar institute or center in the State University System, and it is quite unlikely there ever will be,” said Miller, a longtime member of the Graduate Tax Faculty, director of the Estates and Trusts Practice Certificate Program, and faculty advisor to the Estates, Trusts and Elder Law Society.

The reasons: tax issues are pervasive in estate and elder law planning, and no other institution can offer the participation of the faculty of a premier tax program. UF’s Graduate Tax Program is ranked in the top two in the nation.

“Doug is the perfect choice to head this center, which will address issues of critical importance to our state’s burgeoning elderly population and the legal profession that serves their interests,” said Mike Friel, Grad Tax Program director and associate dean for academic affairs.

While estate planning has occupied the public’s attention for more than 50 years, elder law is a new specialty involving a variety of interdisciplinary issues. Substantial new legislation has been directed at seniors, further adding to this specialty’s complexity and importance.

“The center will advance knowledge, professionalism, skills and policy in these key areas and help to educate and train students and lawyers,” said Dean Jon Mills.

The center also will sponsor continuing legal education programs for specialists and general practitioners, offer skills training to professionals, sponsor annual conferences/institutes/ symposia, and provide community service though judicial externship programs — already in place in Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville and Tampa — where students will do pro bono work in Florida judicial circuit probate divisions, and develop a leading-edge estate planning and elder law library and software collection.

“A lawyer cannot practice estate planning or elder law without understanding that the needs of the client may extend well beyond legal and tax problems,” Miller said.

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