Probate and Trust Law Section


View current and archived editions of the MSBA Probate and Trust Law Newsletter:

Annual Report

MSBA Probate & Trust Law Section
Annual Report


Section Membership
As of June 28, the Section has 1,131 members.

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $69,063.10 as of May 21, 2018.

CLEs & Events
The Section hosted 5 CLE programs and co-sponsored 2 CLE programs in fiscal year 2017-18.


Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

Keeping the Farm



1.0 Standard


How an Attorney Can Ethically Compete with a $29 Estate Plan Offer from Groupon, LegalZoom, and Similar Entities

(Co-sponsored with Practice Management & Marketing Section and Solo &Small Firm Section)



2.0 Ethics


What You Cannot See Can Hurt You: Advising Clients On Digital Assets



1.0 Standard


Communications Best Practices and Pitfalls for Trusts and Estates Lawyers



1.0 Standard


“Trip, trap, trip, trap” went the Trust Code. “Who’s that tripping over my code?” roared the Judge



1.0 Standard


Residency Issues Relating to Individuals, Trusts and Estates

(Co-sponsored with Tax Law Section)



1.0 Standard


Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse: Mom says she’s “Fine” but the Stash of Money in her Coffee can is Gone



1.0 Standard



Annual Meeting and Election Results
The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on June 5, 2018 in conjunction with the Probate & Trust Section Conference in St. Paul.

The following officers were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Chair:  Sonny Miller
Vice-Chair: Jolene Cutshall
Secretary: Jennifer Lammers
Treasurer: Michael Sampson
Immediate Past-Chair:  JoEllen Doebbert

The following council members were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.


  • Richard Baum (new member)
  • Patrick Costello
  • Eileen Day
  • Michael Ostrem
  • Tamara Peterson
  • Jennifer Santini
  • Jason Schuller
  • Cameron Seybolt
  • Joel Sommers
  • Ivory Umanah, Member Emeritus (ex-officio)

Diversity and Inclusion
What diversity and inclusion goals did the Section include in the 2017-2018 work plan, how did you approach these goals, and what was the result?

2017-18 goals:  Encourage liaisons assigned to affinity bar groups to meet and foster dialogue therewith. Encourage members to complete the demographic field in their member profile.  Offer a CLE relating to diversity and inclusion issues.

The Diversity Committee prepared materials to promote the work of the section to be distributed at upcoming events at law schools and through affinity bar associations by section liaisons. The section sent promotional emails and offered incentives (a $50 gift card and one free registration to the 2019 Probate and Trust Law Section Conference) to section members to update the demographic information and size of practice questions on their MSBA profiles.

Other Section Accomplishments

  1. Granted amicus curiae status in the Lund v. Lund case before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, Court File No.A18-0120. The Section’s brief is available on the Section’s web page under the Publications tab.
  2. Two new committees were established:The Amicus Policy Committee, chaired by Sonny Miller, is preparing policies and procedures so that we can be better prepared to address amicus requests as they are presented by section members. The Governance Committee, chaired by Mike Sampson, will review and make recommendations concerning our bylaws and section governance, and how such issues as diversity, size of practice, geography, demographics and the role of new lawyers and law students should affect the composition of section council.
  3. A Mentoring pilot program was conducted in which 16 Mentees were paired with 16 Mentors.
  4. With the help of the Legislation Committee and the Greater Minnesota Involvement Committee/study group, two ag-related, section-sponsored legislative proposals passed the Legislature, but did not become law due to the Governor’s veto of the tax bill.The 2018 tax bill is available on the section’s webpage under the Legislation tab.
  5. Wills for Heroes volunteers donated 2660 hours of time and conducted clinics in 64 of our 87 counties over the last year.
  6. Enhanced utility of Section Webpage and Community page by adding links between both platforms and permitting easy access to one’s personal MSBA profile from the Community page.
  7. In the last year, more than 500 section members’ MSBA profiles were updated to identify the size of their practice, 312 being updated just since April.The section offered two incentives (including a free registration to the 2019 section conference) to entice members to update their MSBA profiles, including answering the question relating to firm size. Of the 922 section members in private practice, 34.5% identify as solos, 40% in firms of 2-20 attorneys, 8% in firms with 21-50 attorneys, and 15% in large firms of over 51 attorneys (2.5% undefined).

Submitted By:

JoEllen Doebbert, Section Chair
June 29, 2018


Amicus Briefs

Lund v. Lund