Marya P. Robben

Marya Robben practices in the areas of estate planning, estate and gift taxation, fiduciary representation, probate administration, trust formation and administration, and guardianship and conservatorship law. Marya leads the firm's Trusts, Estates & Legacy Planning Practice Group. 

A Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Marya frequently writes and speaks on estate planning and probate matters, advanced planning matters (including generation skipping transfer tax planning and intentionally defective grantor trusts), marital deduction planning, disclaimer planning, business succession planning, and navigating fiduciary duties to other professionals. For ten years, she served as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, teaching courses on Wills, Trusts & Estates.

Representative Experience

  • Assisted private client in forming irrevocable grantor trusts for gift planning and structured funding to include part gift and part sale in a way that transferred assets free of all estate and gift transfer taxes for multiple generations through South Dakota dynasty trust.
  • Represented professional trust company to obtain court approval for termination of contested trust, approval of proposed distribution plan, and approval of trustee actions where trust had existed for several decades with illiquid assets.
  • Guided closely held business owners through creation of irrevocable trusts as part of holistic estate plan prior to liquidity event so as to save several million dollars in future estate taxes.
  • Assisted physician and spouse in creating understandable, holistic estate plan to address needs of family, including minor children, in event of incapacity or death and sheltering life insurance assets in an irrevocable life insurance trust so that policy proceeds would not be subject to state or federal estate taxes.
  • Navigated court proceedings to assist trust beneficiary in changing professional trustee where terms of trust instrument were silent regarding removal of trustee and appointment of new trustee.
  • Assisted individual attorney-in-fact in navigating powers and duties while facing uncooperative and problematic co-fiduciary where assets included revocable trust, investment accounts, real estate, and other assets.


Select speaking engagements include:

  • Co-presenter, "Inside the New Uniform Electronic Wills Act," Minnesota CLE 2023 Probate and Trust Law Section Conference, June 13, 2023
  • Co-presenter, "Minnesota's New Electronic Wills Act," Minnesota CLE Seminar, April 21, 2023
  • Co-presenter, "Conversations About Careers in the Law," University Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, March 1, 2023
  • Co-presenter, "Trustee Duties & Diligence: Tips for Driving Defensively in the Current Climate," North Dakota Bankers Association Tri-State Conference, April 28, 2020
  • Presenter, "On the Edges of Capacity – Implications for Estate Planning,"  Minnesota CLE January 2021; October 2020
  • Panelist and moderator, "State Taxation of Irrevocable Trusts," American Bar Association Conference, May 2019
  • Presenter, "Large Estates Panel: Flaunting Flexibility – Keeping Your Options Open In a Temporary World," MSBA Probate & Trust Law Section Conference, June 4, 2018

  • Presenter, "GST Tax for Trust Administrators," Red River Valley Estate Planning Council; Minnesota CLE, September 1, 2017

  • Presenter, "Disclaimers – Planning and Administration," Minnesota CLE, Hennepin County Bar Association, Minnesota CLE and MSBA’s 37th Annual Probate & Trust Law Section Conference, December 2016, June 2016, December 2011, June 2009

  • Presenter, "Navigating Fiduciary Duties for Family Offices," South Dakota Trust Company, May 1, 2014
  • Presenter, "Unwinding, Revising & Administering The Unwanted Irrevocable Trust Plan," American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, December 1, 2013
  • Presenter, "Selected Issues in Post-Mortem Planning," American Bar Association Real Property, Trust & Estate Section, September 1, 2013
  • Presenter, "Dynasty Trusts," American Bar Association Taxation Section, October 1, 2011
  • Presenter, "§ 674: Planning for Grantor Trusts," American Bar Association Section of Taxation, May 1, 2011
  • Presenter, "The Uses and Considerations of GRATs and QPRTs," American Bar Association Taxation Section, June 1, 2010
  • Presenter, "Fiduciary Litigation: The Best Defense is a Good Offense," Minnesota CLE and MSBA 36th Annual Probate & Trust Law Section Conference, June 1, 2010
  • Presenter, "Estate Planning for Business Owners," Ramsey County Bar Association, May 1, 2010

Client Alerts and Blog Posts

News Releases

Professional Affiliations

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Fellow
  • North Dakota State Bar Association

  • Hennepin County Bar Association

  • American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section, Generation Skipping Transfer Tax Committee, Former Co-Chair, 2017-2019

Community Involvement

  • Normandale Community College Foundation, Board Member, Treasurer, 2016-2017
  • St. Therese Catholic Church of Deephaven, Sacristan, Usher, Greeter, Event Volunteer


  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America©, 2015-2024
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, "North Star Lawyers," 2023
  • Chambers High Net Worth Guide, "Leading Practitioner of Private Wealth Law," 2021-2023
  • "Minnesota Super Lawyer," Thomson Reuters, 2015-2022
    • "Minnesota Rising Star," 2006-2008, 2011-2012
    • "The Top 50 Women," 2019-2021
  • Minnesota Monthly, "Minnesota's Top Lawyers," 2022
  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, University of St. Thomas School of Law, 2013
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated from Martindale-Hubbell
Photo of Marya P. Robben
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    3100 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402


Shelly Parker

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota


University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., cum laude, 1998

Marquette University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1995