Susan Link, head of Maslon's Estate Planning Group, is featured in the Minnesota 2016 Super Lawyers magazine. The annual issue includes the Minnesota attorneys recognized on the 2016 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists and features selected attorneys and their noteworthy stories. The article titled, "Matters of Life and Death," profiles Susan's legal career from childhood inspiration to early real estate practice in Chicago and her eventual transition to an estate planning practice with a focus on pro bono work for the Minnesota Wills for Heroes program.
On her path to estate planning, Susan shares, "When my mom died, our family met with the lawyers, and there were many issues that could have easily broke[n] us apart... It made me think that I could do this type of work. I'd be good at it." She adds, "Our goal is to make sure the family stays together. We're asked to meet with people during the darkest point of their lives, and that's a great responsibility. We want to help them get through and not turn on each other. If I can do that, it's a good feeling."
Although she didn't begin her practice with a particular focus in pro bono work, the article notes the pivotal moment in 2006, when Susan heard about Wills for Heroes, an organization created to help 9/11 first responders put estate documents in place. "I read that 90 percent of them had no wills, and it turns out that most emergency responders haven't drafted a will either," she explained, "I thought, this is an area where I can help."
Susan helped found the Minnesota chapter of the organization with the support of the MSBA, and began her service as program director in 2007, donating about 500 hours a year to the work and often attending Wills for Heroes events around the state on Monday evenings and during all-day Saturday sessions. To date, the organization has served about 11,000 people. Tim Groshens, executive director of the MSBA noted, "You have to be sensitive, this is an area with a lot of personal information, and you have to be fast as you only have an hour. Susan's figured out the formula and shown everyone how to do it."
The article closes with a final statement from Susan, "'If we can get more people to fill out health directives, that would be so beneficial to society. And it doesn't have to be an unpleasant process. It really doesn't.'"
Susan practices in the areas of estate planning, probate, and trust administration. She works closely with families to plan the disposition of their assets, both during lifetime and at death, and to accomplish the optimal estate and gift tax planning for clients through wills, trusts, and other instruments. Susan routinely drafts estate plans that include disclaimer planning and credit shelter plans, in addition to drafting and implementing charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, irrevocable insurance trusts, minors' trusts, antenuptial agreements, and postnuptial agreements. She is regularly involved in the analysis and issues of lifetime gifting programs, estate tax planning, and generation-skipping issues.
To read the full article on Susan Link, go to: "Matters of Life and Death."