A Team Of Experienced Probate Attorneys

Jim Crist

James Crist


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Practice Areas:

  • Probate Litigation


Jim Crist has been trying probate cases for over 38 years. His focus on probate litigation has allowed him to develop a practical understanding of how the courts in Minnesota apply the law in these difficult situations. In addition to numerous trials, he has appeared before the Minnesota Supreme Court and Minnesota Court of Appeals on over 25 occasions. Jim has represented heirs, devisees, trust beneficiaries, guardians, conservators, trustees, and personal representatives in hundreds of probate matters. He probate litigation experience includes:

  • Challenging the validity of wills or trusts based on diminished capacity and undue influence
  • Defending wills and trusts against claims of diminished capacity or undue influence
  • Representing trust beneficiaries asserting their rights under trust instruments
  • Defending personal representatives, trustees, guardians, and conservators against fiduciary claims of others
  • Disputes regarding whether a guardianship/conservatorship should be established the powers granted, and who should serve as guardian/conservator
  • Lawsuits to recover assets stolen from vulnerable adults
  • Preventing murderers from financially benefitting from the death of their victims
  • Bringing and defending claims against surety bonds
  • Disputes incolving alleged power of attorney abuse
  • Life Insurance beneficiary disputes
  • Family Squabbles
In recognition of his experience in the area of probate litigation, Jim has been selected by over 200 attorneys to mediate their contested probate claims.  



  • William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota
    • J.D. - 1985
  • University of Montana, Missoula, Montana
    • B.S. - 1982

Bar Admission

  • Minnesota, 1985

Published Works

  • Mediating Probate Disputes, Hennepin Lawyer. Teaching Materials on Estate Planning, Fourth Edition, Beyer 2013
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship Mediation, Hennepin Lawyer, March 2010
  • Media Scrutiny in a High Profile Case, Interview, Minnesota Lawyer, October 1997
  • Communicating with Your Attorney: Vol. 10(2) April 1999, Journal of the Minnesota Association of Guardianship and Conservatorship (MAGiC)
  • Ten Ways to Limit Conservator Liability: Vol. 9(3) July 1998, MAGiC Journal
  • Marriage Dissolution and the Conservatee: Vol. 8(3) August 1997, MAGiC Journal

Representative Cases

  • In re Conservatorship of Begin, Minn. App. (2010)
  • In re Conservatorship of James W. Kleven, Minn. App. (2008)
  • In re Conservatorship of Douglas, Minn. App. (2004)
  • In re Conservatorship of Brady, 607 N.W.2d 781 (2000)
  • In re Estate of Evanoff, Minn. App. (1998)
  • In re Conservatorship of Christopher, Minn. App. (1997)
  • In re Conservatorship of Foster, 547 N.W.2d 81 (1996)
  • In re Conservatorship of Dawson, 427 N.W.2d 15 (1993)
  • Wise v. Bix, 434 N.W.2d 502 (1989)


  • AV Rated Attorney, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Super Lawyer

Classes & Seminars

  • Mediation and Your Elder Law Practice, Minnesota Elder Law Institute, 2011
  • Surcharging the Bond, Advanced Issues in Guardianships and Conservatorships. Minnesota CLE, February 2010
  • Probate & Estate: Addressing Psychological and Emotional Aspects of the Case, Minnesota CLE Live Webcast, January 2010
  • Special Considerations When Mediating Elder Law Issues, 12th Annual Minnesota Bar Association ADR Institute, October 2009
  • Civil Remedies for Financial Exploitation of Elderly, 2008 State Conference, Minnesota Association for Guardians and Conservators
  • Litigation Within the Guardianship/Conservatorship, MILE, 2001

Pro-Bono Activities

  • Senior Community Services, Past President
  • Edina Athletic Boosters Club, Past President
  • N.C. Little Hospice, Edina, MN, Board Member

Past Positions

  • Past Adjunct Professor, William Mitchell College of Law: Client Counseling Program

Professional Associations

  • Hennepin County Bar Association
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Minnesota Association of Guardianship and Conservatorship (MAGiC)