Meet Philip J. Ruce

Attorney Philip J. Ruce creates wills and trusts for families who want to feel secure that their loved ones are cared-for.  He is also the author of Trustee University: The Guidebook to Best Practices for Family Trustees, a practical guide for managing family trusts. Read about Philip’s client commitment here.

Philip J. Ruce is a Minnesota estate planning attorney.

Philip J. Ruce is a Minnesota trust and estate planning attorney.

How long have you been practicing?  I opened my practice in February of 2014 after spending six years in trust and estate administration.


What led you to practice in the area of estate planning? When I was growing up, my grandmother was the trustee of a number of family trusts. I remember always being curious about what it meant to be a trustee and why one would or could have a trust—the investing and asset management aspect of these trusteeships was likely the inspiration behind my previous career in banking and investment sales. Estate planning seemed a logical extension of this type of planning work, and I began law school specifically with the goal of working in this field.

What is your favorite aspect of helping individuals to create an estate plan?  When I was working in trust administration, I dealt with some extremely advanced estate planning strategies. I knew when I began my practice that I would be working much more closely with individuals and families who are a lot more like me—those whose concerns are less about advanced estate tax avoidance and asset protection and more about making sure their children are safe and well cared-for. What I did not anticipate was how much I would love it.


When do you recommend that an individual starts thinking about their estate plan?  Everyone who is over eighteen needs to have the most basic planning documents, which are a health care directive and a power of attorney document. I actually think these are more important than a will, because we are more likely to need someone to temporarily step in on our behalf and make decisions for us than we are to die. That said, once there are minor children in the picture, young families must think about a will sothat guardians and trustees can be appointed, should they be needed. From a legal standpoint, it’s the most important thing a young  parent can do. Excerpted from After Hours with Philip J. Ruce, published by Epilawg.

About Philip  

Philip J. Ruce is a Minnesota estate planning attorney.  A veteran of a financial services career that began in 1999, Philip places a premium on a high level of client service and loyalty. He has built his career on a foundation of frequent communication and deep respect for his clients’ desire to accomplish their goals — without wondering if their attorney shares their priorities. It is your family and your legacy; hire an attorney who is as committed to your dreams as you are.

Philip’s commitment to the estate planning field goes beyond his work as a legal representative and client advocate. A former professional trust administrator, Philip has worked on thousands of trusts and estates. He is a widely published academic and has been an adjunct professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where he taught classes on wealth management and financial services to LL.M. candidates. He is a 2019 Minnesota Super Lawyer and a 2016, 2017, and 2018 Super Lawyer Rising Star.

Philip’s trust and fiduciary research has been published by universities around the country, including the Gonzaga University Law Review, the Quinnipiac University Law Review, the South Texas Law R

eview, the Drake University Law Review, as well as the American Bar Association’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal. In 2013, his paper on trust protectors was cited by the U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, in PHL Variable Insurance Company v. 2008 Christa Joseph Irrevocable Trust.

Philip is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (B.A.), William Mitchell College of Law (J.D.), and Thomas Jefferson School of Law (LL.M.).


Trustee University: The Guidebook to Best Practices for Family Trustees, ArchStone Publications, LLC (2015). Free chapter available at

The Trustee and the Spendthrift: The Argument against Small Trust Termination, Gonzaga University Law Review (2013).

The Trustee and the Prudent Investor: The Emerging Acceptance of Alternative Investments as the New Fiduciary Standard, South Texas Law Review (2012)

The Trustee and the Remainderman: The Trustee’s Duty to Inform, (American Bar Association) Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal (2011)

The Bank Secrecy Act: Considerations for Continuing Banking Relationships After the Filing of a Suspicious Activity Report, Quinnipiac University Law Review (2011)

The Trustee and the Trust Protector: A Question of Fiduciary Power. Should a Trust Protector be Held to a Fiduciary Standard?, Drake University Law Review (2010)