Matthew J. Shea

Matt Shea works with high net worth families, executives, and business owners on estate planning, business and farm succession planning, estate and trust administration, fiduciary litigation, and international estate and tax planning. In addition, he has vast experience working with private equity and hedge fund general partners and single- and multi-family offices. 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 has been an elected Fellow of ACTEC since 2011. 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. He was an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law from 2009–2018, where he taught a number of courses and won the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching in 2013. In 2014, he also received the firm-wide Mooty Award in honor of excellent client service and business development.

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 coaching one of his kid’s sport teams — Matt enjoys running, disc golf, fishing, and hockey. He lends his legal experience or a helping hand to those in need. He is the chair of the Children’s Legacy Advisor Group and member of the Board of Directors at Children’s Minnesota.


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. The planning 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 an individual who owns his own small business (along with the building where the business 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), and a business succession plan to pass the business and the various interests down to his children on a tax-favored basis

Estate Planning

  • 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 $100 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 family with setting up a large private foundation in order to accomplish their 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 $50 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

Tax Controversy and Fiduciary Litigation

  • Advised client on income and estate tax residency related matters to help client determine where they are domiciled for tax purposes
  • Involved with many audits and conducted numerous seminars outlining the factors states consider when a person is changing domicile
  • Defended and advised a client on income residency issues on an audit with the Minnesota Department of Revenue
  • 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



  • Co-Presenter, "Trustee Duties & Diligence: Tips for Driving Defensively in the Current Climate," North Dakota Bankers Association Tri-State Conference, April 28, 2020


Client Alerts and Blog Posts

News Releases

Professional Affiliations

  • Family Office Exchange (FOX), member
  • American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC), Fellow
  • University of St. Thomas Law School, Adjunct Professor (2009-2018)
  • 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

Community Involvement

  • Children’s Minnesota Legacy Advisor Leadership Council, Chair
  • The Foundation of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, board member
  • Minneapolis Rotary Club No. 9, past member
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, past board member, vice president
  • Minnesota AIDS Project Estate Planning Clinic, clinic coordinator
  • Legal Access Point Clinic, volunteer attorney
  • Catholic Charities, past planned giving committee
  • Legal Aid Campaign, committee member
  • Minnesota Dental Foundation, past board member
  • St. Thomas School of Law, past mentor for students
  • United Way, volunteer
  • William Mitchell College of Law, past mentor for students
  • Wills for Heroes Minnesota, volunteer attorney


  • Recognized as Leading Practitioner of Private Wealth Law by Chambers High Net Worth Guide, 2020-2021
  • American College of Trusts and Estates Council (ACTEC), Fellow
  • The Best Lawyers in America©, 2019-2022
  • “Minnesota Super Lawyer,” Thomson Reuters, 2014–2021
  • “Minnesota Rising Star,” Thomson Reuters, 2005, 2007–2013
  • "Great Plains Super Lawyer," Thomson Reuters, 2016-2018
  • Dean’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, University of St. Thomas School of Law, 2013
  • Mooty Award, Gray Plant Mooty, 2014
Photo of Matthew J. Shea
  • Minneapolis

    80 South Eighth Street
    500 IDS Center
    Minneapolis, MN 55402
  • Fargo

    118 Broadway,
    Suite 506
    Fargo, ND 58102


Laurie Lampman

Court Memberships

  • Minnesota
  • North Dakota
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota


William Mitchell College of Law, J.D., cum laude

Winona State University, B.A., summa cum laude