Matthew J.  Shea

Principal - Minneapolis


Support Staff
Lynn Larson, 612.632.3431

500 IDS Center
80 South 8th St
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Main: 612.632.3000
Fax: 612.632.4444

More information 
Maps & Directions

Shea, Matthew

Matt works with families, executives, business owners, and professionals on estate planning, business and farm succession planning, estate and trust administration, fiduciary litigation, and international estate and tax planning. He helps clients achieve their estate planning goals and guides families through the estate settlement and administration process after they have lost a loved one. Matt is often brought into contested estates, trusts, guardianships and conservator proceedings to help resolve difficult and sensitive issues. He also helps families establish a legacy in the community through charitable planning and giving.

Matt was recently elected as an ACTEC Fellow. ACTEC is a nation-wide organization of distinguished trusts and estates practitioners who elect Fellows based on peer nomination and the lawyer demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence, and at least ten years of experience practicing exclusively as trusts and estates counselors. In addition, he is an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law where he teaches the courses: “Wills, Trusts, & Estates,” “Estate Taxation & Estate Planning,” and “Estate Planning and Estate Administration.” In April 2013, he won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching from the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

With a mind for law and a passion for helping people, Matt knows the importance of developing cohesive client relationships and that trust isn’t built overnight. He takes time getting to know his clients and listening to their needs. Clients say they appreciate Matt’s genuine personality and approachability and they benefit from his extensive experience, engaging nature, and tenacity to get the job done. When he’s not working or at home playing with his kids, Matt lends his legal expertise or a helping hand to those in need. He’s an active member of Minneapolis Rotary Club No. 9, board member of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, volunteer attorney with Wills for Heroes Minnesota, member of Catholic Charities’ planned giving committee, and volunteers with the United Way, AIDS Project Estate Planning Clinic, Legal Access Point Clinic, and the Legal Aid Campaign.


Business/Farm Succession Planning

  • Business succession plan for a family that owns a construction management company that involved the use of buy-sell agreements, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs), and generation-skipping transfer trusts, which ensured continuity of company management and preservation of the client’s wealth
  • Worked with a family with a large agricultural/farming operation to develop a plan to pass the enterprise in a tax-favored way to the next generation. We used ILITs, grantor trusts, and other entities to help the clients reach their goals
  • Planning for a dentist who owns his own practice (along with the building where the practice is housed) as well as various other business and real estate interests. The client’s estate planning goals were achieved by forming a family limited partnership (FLP), multiple generation-skipping trusts, Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) to provide asset protection, and a business succession plan to pass the business and the various interests down to his children on a tax-favored basis

Estate Planning

  • Development of an estate plan for a dentist who recently graduated from dental school and who has small children, by drafting an estate plan that included a will with a contingent trust for children, some simple estate tax planning, and the preparation of Health Care Directives, financial powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations for life insurance and retirement plans
  • Modified an estate plan for a physician who recently relocated to Minneapolis by ensuring that his documents complied with Minnesota law and updating those items that did not specifically comply with Minnesota law
  • Assisted with the formulation and implementation of an estate plan for a client with assets exceeding $600 million, consisting mainly of various publicly traded companies. The plan used multiple irrevocable trusts, Grantor-Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), a sale to an intentionally defective grantor trust (IDGT), generation-skipping trusts, and a family limited partnership (FLP) to minimize the federal and state estate tax and Generation-Skipping Transfer tax that will be due upon the client’s death
  • Worked with a family office in the formation and implementation of a South Dakota Private Trust Company to serve as trustee of the various family trusts

Charitable Legacy Planning

  • Formulated an estate plan for a family with $50 million in assets mainly held in a closely held company. The plan used various generation-skipping transfer trusts, ILITs, and charitable trusts, to achieve this client’s goals of minimizing estate taxes, ensuring his families long-term financial stability, and establishing a legacy in the community
  • Assisted a client with setting up a large private foundation in order to accomplish his charitable intentions

Estate and Trust Administration

  • Helped a family, after the untimely loss of the patriarch of the family, navigate the often complex and confusing estate administrative process. The advice helped the family with the probate and estate settlement process; prepared estate, gift, and fiduciary income tax returns; and worked to resolve trust and estate controversies
  • Administered an estate worth approximately $35 million by setting up and funding charitable trusts, trusts for the benefit of the surviving spouse, and children’s trusts, filing the estate tax returns, and insuring that the estate is passed to the intended beneficiaries in an orderly fashion
  • Represented a corporate fiduciary who inherited an estate from an individual fiduciary that mismanaged the estate

Fiduciary Litigation

  • Resolved a tax controversy with the IRS for a client who had some misunderstanding on the applicability of transfer taxes
  • Settled a dispute between a surviving spouse who was not the biological parent of the decedent’s surviving children where the decedent was not able to implement his estate plan before he died
  • Litigated a matter for a corporate trustee that was defending itself from unfounded accusations from a disgruntled beneficiary who was upset with his share from the trust


  • “Inside the Minds: International Estate Planning Strategies,” Aspatore Books (a Thomson & Reuters Company), 2011


  • “Business Succession Planning,” keynote speaker, Great Plains Federal Tax Institute, November 2012
  • “Effective Estate Planning in Business Families,” speaker, University of St. Thomas Breakfast Series, November 2012
  • “Protecting and Preserving Your Client’s Business Assets: Estate and Succession Planning for Business Owners!” presenter, WebEx for Securian Financial Services advisors, October 2012
  • “The Ticking Clock: How Smaller Estates Can Still Use the 2012 Gift Tax Exclusion,” copresenter, Hennepin County Bar Association, Probate and Trust Law section, October 22, 2012
  • “Transfer Tax Planning: Current Developments and New Opportunities,” copresenter, 30th Annual MNCPA Estate & Personal Financial Planning Conference, June 18, 2012
  • “How to Read Trusts,” McGladrey, 2012
  • “Estate Planning for Business Owners,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2011
  • “Planning & Drafting to Succeed,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2011
  • “Family & Closely Held Business Conference,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2011
  • “Heckerling Update,” Hennepin County Bar Association, 2011
  • “Estate Planning for Second Marriages,” Arrowhead Estate Planning Counsel, 2011
  • “Real Estate Issues in Estate Planning & Estate Administration, Minnesota Paralegal Association, 2010 & 2011
  • “Second Marriage Estate Planning,” 36th Annual Probate & Trust Law Section Conference, 2010
  • “Interpreting and Applying the Final Regulations under Section 2053—When is a Deduction Really a Deduction for Estate Tax Purposes?” 36th Annual Probate & Trust Law Section Conference, 2010
  • “Advanced Estate Planning Issues: 2053 Regulations,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2010
  • “Estate & Succession Planning for Business Owners,” Ramsey County Bar Association, 2010
  • “Basic Will & Trust Drafting,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2010
  • “Estate Tax Update,” Hennepin County Bar Association, 2010
  • “Estate Planning for Second Marriages,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2010
  • “Ethical Potpourri,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2009
  • “Minnesota Estate Administration Deskbook,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2007-2009
  • “Fundamentals of Probate Practice,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2007-2009
  • “Heckerling Update” HCBA, RCBA, and the Mpls and St. Paul Estate Planning Counsels, 2009
  • “The New Tax-Preparer Rules,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2009
  • “Probate Problems—Insolvent Estates,” Hennepin County Bar Association, 2007
  • “Commercial Real Estate Transactions,” HalfMoon, LLC, 2005
  • “Marital Deduction Deskbook,” Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, 2004


  • William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., cum laude
  • Winona State University, B.A., summa cum laude

Bar Admissions

  • Minnesota, 2001
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, 2001

Professional Activities

  • American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Fellow
  • University of St. Thomas Law School, Adjunct Professor
  • American Bar Association, member
  • Hennepin County Bar Association, Probate Section, past chair, vice chair, and program director
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Probate & Trust Law Section, Legislative Committee
  • Ramsey County Bar Association, member

Honors and Distinctions

  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, University of St. Thomas School of Law, 2013
  • “Minnesota Rising Star,” Thomson Reuters, 2005, 2007-2012
  • ACTEC Fellow

Community Involvement

  • Minneapolis Rotary Club No. 9, member
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, board member
  • Minnesota AIDS Project Estate Planning Clinic, clinic coordinator
  • Legal Access Point Clinic, volunteer attorney
  • Catholic Charities, planned giving committee
  • Legal Aid Campaign, committee member
  • Minnesota Dental Foundation, past board member
  • St. Thomas School of Law, mentor for students
  • United Way, volunteer
  • William Mitchell College of Law, mentor for students
  • Wills for Heroes Minnesota, volunteer attorney