Clayton W. Chan, Esq.

It has always been Clayton’s firm belief that people, their relationships and their families form the basis for any successful legacy, estate and wealth preservation planning. Clayton Chan works closely with his clients to reach their financial, family, emotional and tax driven goals. He prides himself in providing the highest level of personal attention to each of his clients to provide comprehensive and highly customized estate plans for both individuals and families. Clayton’s clients often refer to his wise counsel, strong judgement, compassion, technical competence and discreet handling of any sensitive family matters.

Clayton has represented clients across a wide array of different backgrounds – including retirees and young couples just starting out on their financial journeys, all the way up to Fortune 500 senior corporate executives and ultra high net worth closely-held business owners in diverse industries, as well as large farm owners. Clayton and his team also have extensive experience in probate and trust administration and has authored a number of authoritative national manuals and treatises focused on estate planning, wills, trusts and different processes surrounding business succession planning.

Clayton Chan was previously a partner at the downtown Minneapolis law firms of Lindquist & Vennum, PLLP, Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A., Moss & Barnett, P.A., and chair of the estate planning department of the Minneapolis office of the national law firm of Stoel Rives, PLLP.

Clayton provides his clients with a wide array of trust, probate and estate matters through both basic and sophisticated estate planning techniques, wealth preservation and asset protection planning strategies as well as sound charitable planning counsel. Clayton also has extensive experience in conducting multi-generational family planning meetings and coordinating with numerous tax and financial advisors. Clayton has deep experience in the following areas:

  • Core estate planning, involving the implementation of revocable trusts, wills, standby custodian documents and health care directives
  • A variety of sophisticated approaches to advanced and complex estate and gift tax planning
  • Business succession and agricultural/farm succession planning, including the coordinated use of trusts, special trust boards to manage business assets, buy-sell and shareholder agreements, and insurance planning with irrevocable life insurance trusts (“ILITs”)
  • Planning for highly-compensated Fortune 500 corporate executives, including executive compensation assets, non-qualified stock options, and performance stock options
  • The design and implementation of multi-generational cabin trusts and farm trusts
  • Sophisticated techniques to reduce estate taxes, including the use of spousal lifetime access trusts (“SLATs”), irrevocable gifting trusts, generation-skipping transfer trusts (“GST trusts”), grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRATs”), and qualified personal residence trusts (“QPRTs”)
  • International estate planning, including coordinated planning for clients with interests in Asia, Europe, and South America
  • Multi-generational business planning, including working with blended families and families with sensitive and complex relationship and financial issues
  • The use of family limited partnerships (“FLPs”) and LLCs, along with valuation discount planning
  • Wealth preservation and asset protection planning, with the use of trusts and other entities
  • Charitable planning, including charitable trusts (such as “CRTs” and “CLTs”) and setting up and implementing private foundations
  • Complex estate, trust, and probate administration, including complex federal and state estate tax returns
  • Representing corporate fiduciaries on a wide range of matters and issues
  • Representing clients in IRS audits and the preparation of IRS private letter ruling requests
  • Trust litigation matters
  • Elder law
  • Disability planning
  • Preparation of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Pre-marital estate planning
  • Pre and post-divorce planning
  • Preparation of supplemental needs trusts
  • Preparation of settlement trust agreements in personal injury cases

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Recognized as a Best Lawyer in America for 2024, a completely peer-reviewed honor given to only 5% of all practicing attorneys in the US.
  • Recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyer”, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024, a distinction awarded to only 5% of all attorneys in Minnesota
  • Recognized as a “Lead Counsel” rated attorney, by Thomson Reuters
  • Recipient, Five Star Wealth Manager Award (Estate Planning), Five Star Professional, 2015, 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023
  • Named to Minnesota Super Lawyers®Rising Stars (Estate Planning), 2005-2007, 2010
  • Named an “Up and Coming Lawyer” by Minnesota Lawyer, 2007
  • Member, Asset Protection Committee, American Bar Association
  • Member, Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Member; Co-Chair, Probate & Trust Section (2008-2010); Co-Chair, Programming Committee (2006-2007); Hennepin County Bar Association

Civic Activities

  • Past mentor, University of St. Thomas School of Law Mentorship Program
  • Past mentor, Minneapolis Edison High School writing program for disadvantaged youths
  • Co-Founder, former Vice President, National Association of Asian-American Professionals, Minnesota Chapter
  • Former member, Selection Committee, Minnesota State Bar Association Minority Clerkship Program
  • Past mentor, Winthrop & Weinstine Minority Mentorship Program, University of Minnesota Law School


  • University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 2000, cum laude
  • University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management, M.B.T. (Master of Business Taxation), major degree requirements completed
  • University of Minnesota, College of Liberal Arts Honors Division, B.S., Economics, 1997, cum laude; Phi Kappa Phi