Customer Reviews: Wills, Trusts, and Estates
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on July 8, 2005
Whether you are the law student to whom the book is addressed, or just a savvy layman who needs to fill some gaps quickly, this book just may be all you'll ever need on wills, trusts, and estates. I ordered ten books to research my paper on inter vivos trusts and over half the footnotes reference Dukeminier. In each topical area, the general statutes are explained, often with ancillary explanations of tax treatment, then the authors dive into cases, explaining how the cases were argued and adjudicated. The text flows so well that you feel as though you are having a conversation with the authors. I particularly enjoyed the entertaining anecdotes drawn from pop culture. Do not let the cost of this book be a factor in your decision to purchase it; you may find yourself refering to it when you attend to your own will, trusts, and estate.
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on September 25, 2009
This book is a good book, but the update is not needed. My friend next to me in class has the seventh edition of this text and comparing the eighth edition to the previous it is obvious that the publisher is just going after more money. So few pages have been updated, so few cases have been added, they could have easily issued a paperback supplement to the seventh edition and saved students money. Putting my objections to how the textbook industry operates aside, this book is a decent read. The authors do a good job of explaining the law and the cases are edited fairly well. I'm in my third year of law school and have had several different texts by now. I would place this one on the better end. The text itself - 7 of 10. Was it a necessary update - 0 of 10.
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on May 1, 2011
This was a pretty good trusts and estates book. As this subject matter can get bit morbid, I really do think the editors did a good job of picking some entertaining cases (ie. the woman who left her estate to a feminist group whose will was held invalid b/ she harbored scary crazy hatred towards men or the rich dude who left his estate to his dog). The nuances of estate planning are explained very well and I feel as though I don't need a horn book explaining the actual law for the final. I would suggest purchasing the companion case brief hornbook entitled "Casenote Legal Briefs Wills, Trusts and Estates: Keyed to Dukeminier, Sitkoff and Lindgren, 8e" because I found it really helped with my outlining and having their case briefs on hand while on call made me feel more comfortable. That said, most of the cases in the book (at least the ones that my prof assigned) were pretty short and all stood for a pretty clear rule.

Just beware of those who tell you that you do not need to buy this edition and that the 7th edition is sufficient. I checked with my professor before I purchased the 7th edition and he said it should be fine as to the law but there were a lot of differences that were not limited to pagination. Certain cases that my professor assigned were not in the 7th edition and some explantations of the law were longer in the newer book. I would sincerely tell you if I thought I could pass by with the old edition b/ I like saving money just like everyone else. This is not the book for that. I had to get this edition in the end.
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on July 27, 2002
If you want to learn the general law about Wills and Trusts, this is the book. There are other supplements you can buy that can introduce you to the subject, but no other book comes close to going to the depth that this book does. It is helpful to have taken a course in Property before reading this book, so that you will have experience in dealing with the Rule Against Perpetuities.
Ever since G.W. Bush passed the largest tax cut in history, many people think the rich should not be able to endow their children with a large inheritance as it destroys the democratic system we have where everyone has a equal chance at succeeding.
This book has given me another perspective about the issue of inheritance. Suppose for a moment we weren't allowed to transfer anything to our children. If that were to become law, do you really think people would work as hard as they do now, knowing that everything that they have reverts back to the State once they die? Do we want to take away that incentive to work hard?
I don't think so.
Another aspect of this book that I particular enjoy is the way that it is organized. If you ever wanted to know all the different types of trusts there are, this book covers it. It also does a good job of introducing you to tax planning during wealth transfers.
This book also does a good job of making you think. Do you know what happens when two people who are married die at the same time or when it is unclear which one died first? It seems insignificant, but suppose A and B, married, both die in a car crash. A initially willed that everything go to B and C. B willed everything to go to her children. If B died first, A's wealth should go to C. If A died first, B's children and C should get something. What if it's unclear who died first? This book deals with that issue and much more.
Another way that it makes you think is that it offers alternative solutions to the same problems. Did you ever consider other ways the law could be re-written to avoid probate? Every good lawyer knows the traditional ways of avoiding probate - joint tenancy property, life insurance, Iras, pension plans, and trusts. But why do not just re-write the law in probate? What not have universal succession like they do in France? This book covers all of that.
Did you ever want to know the difference between an administrator and executor? What happens if the executor drags his feet during the probate process? What can the beneficiaries do? This book has the answers.
In sum, this is a great book for learning about Wills & Trusts. I highly recommend it.
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on December 4, 2009
This is a great textbook. It nicely balances foundational materials with the cases. The layout of the book makes for an easy outline. The rules are clear and thoroughly laid out in each section - I barely needed the supplements I bought.

I looked at someone's outline based on the last version of the text and there were a lot of cases that were missing and UPC sections that were incorrect. I did not compare books side by side but my prof. focused a lot on the things that have recently changed so the old version of the text would not have been that helpful for our class.
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on April 3, 2013
If you are learning trust and estates this is the main textbook you will use. I thought it was a good book with interesting cases. I particularly liked how this book used recent issues in law like what happens if your spouse dies and you use their frozen sperm or eggs to get pregnant and have children. Do they receive part of the estate? These cutting edge issues in law are covered in this book and make it the best trusts and estates textbook.
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on November 14, 2011
This casebook is filled with good notes by the author. The cases are among the most interesting cases you'll read in law school. I think that the notes before and after the cases are very good. You could make a good outline or flash-card stack based on these note sections, but a good bar outline is always a good companion. The last section covers estate and gift tax law, which is good to know as a practitioner even though it is not on the California bar exam.... California students MUST be sure to have some additional material to compare because California law does differ from the law in this book on certain points.

I give this book four stars because the order of issues is a bit strange. Also, some of the cases are too long and could have been summed up in a quick notes point. However, as far as casebooks go, this is a good one.
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on January 12, 2014
Fairly easy to read and follow. Probably not very useful for non-law students who just want a quick overview of the subject matter. If I were teaching a Trusts & Estates class I'd definitely use this as the required casebook though. The newer edition includes some important updates (ex. fed'l estate tax threshhold today vs. in 2009), but otherwise they're largely the same.
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on January 20, 2013
Item was correct and arrived within the estimated delivery time. The book itself has some entertaining footnotes and pictures but the organization is annoying. It has constant 'NOTE:'s that don't really fit into the headings and should have headings of their own. Tough to take notes with.
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VINE VOICEon March 28, 2009
Rarely have I read a casebook with as much useful commentary, attempts at light-heartedness, and acual decent backgrounds (and follow-ups) on various cases as this one. It shouldn't be confused with a page turner by any means, but it isn't painful to read, and is very insightful.

This is considered the premier casebook on the subject, and with good reason.
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