Law professors update Wiggins textbook on North Carolina wills, trusts

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RALEIGH — In 1965, Dr. Norman Wiggins published the first edition of “Wills and the Administration of Trusts in North Carolina.”  The book was the product of his SJD work at Columbia University. 

He, with the help of others along the way, continued to update the book and occasionally publish new editions until the late 1990s when the task was too much for him to handle in his busy schedule.  At that time, he turned over the work of updating and revising the book to Campbell Law Professors Jim McLaughlin and Richard Bowser.  They have been doing that work ever since, according to Professor Bowser.

Photo of Professor Richard Bowser
Professor Bowser

The newest edition of that book — now called “Wiggins, The Law of Wills and Trusts in North Carolina” — is available, published by Thomson Reuters.  With this new edition that spans nearly two decades of updates the authors made “some pretty radical changes” says  Professor Bowser – changes that he and Professor McLaughlin are convinced improve the text. 

The professors removed material related to administration of estates and focused instead on wills and trusts .  They also created more, but shorter chapters, in an effort to make it easier for lawyers to find the information that they need.  And finally, they eliminated some of the historical materials that had been part of the earlier editions. At the same time, Bowser says, they tried to retain the historical materials from which the doctrines of the law of wills and trusts proceeded. 

“It wasn’t an easy task,” Professor McLaughlin added, “but we do think it was worth effort.  We hope that lawyers in North Carolina find it to be helpful.”

Photo of Law Professor Jim McLaughlin
Professor McLaughlin

Professor McLaughlin has been a member of the faculty for 36 years and has taught Wills and Trusts since joining the Campbell Law faculty.  Professor Bowser has been a member of the faculty for 27 years and has taught either Estate and Gift Tax or Wills and Trusts each year during his tenure.