Meet the Minnesota attorney who uses humor and a little Taylor Swift to prepare people for death

Attorney Jen Gumbel wants to talk to you about things you probably don’t want to talk about.

“Law, death, money. All everyone’s favorite topics,” she said.

And she doesn’t just want to talk to you. She wants to make these difficult subjects fun and relatable. Her hope is to make them entertaining enough that they stick in your brain and spur you on to make a good plan for your death.

That’s why Gumbel, who lives in LeRoy, a small town south of Rochester, often finds herself in her kitchen, in the front seat of her car, or on this special day in her living room, filming short, easy-to-understand videos about estate planning that spread them on TikTok and Instagram.

What does that mean? The news, analysis, and community conversations found here are funded by donations from individuals. Make a gift of any amount today to support this resource for everyone.

“It’s really important that you know what beneficiaries are,” she said into her phone’s camera. “I’m Jen Gumbel, a probate attorney who wants you and your loved ones to need less of people like me.”

Estate planner and probate attorney Jen Gumbel explains the creative process behind her educational social media videos at her home in LeRoy, Minnesota on February 16.

Ben Hovland | MPR News

Big Questions

Gumbel said we must remember that death is what affects us all.

“Not everyone is going to need a criminal defense attorney or a divorce lawyer. But everyone will either be concerned with moving assets after someone dies or leave assets that need handling after death,” she said.

READ :  FBI raids Biden's Rehoboth Beach home amid classified documents

Years ago Gumbel said she wanted to be a teacher. That a skill naturally meshed with the area of ​​law in which she eventually practiced. She tried to help family members who were not only grieving the loss of a loved one but were also stuck trying to figure out the details of their legacy.

“Not only will someone else have to deal with it, someone else who is grieving for you will have to deal with it at literally the worst possible time, and you’ll still be dealing with legal issues and updating yourself and learning.” “, she said.

Her passion for preparation led to the creation of a blog and virtual estate planning courses that touched on all aspects of the process.

She answers the big questions. What is inheritance? How do assets move after a person’s death? How to have difficult conversations with parents about planning their death.

And more recently, she began posting bite-sized tips on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter with the @jengumbel grip. She also writes a blog, Organized (After) Life.

Estate planning and probate attorney Jen Gumbel captures an educational TikTok video at her home in LeRoy, Minnesota on Feb. 16.

Ben Hovland | MPR News

Taylor Swift helps

Gumbel is a big scroller and it shows. Her videos combine the complexities of estate planning with the music and memes that permeate social media — the inside jokes that only those of us who watch Instagram movies instead of TV would understand.

Like the ever-relevant Taylor Swift reference.

Shortly after Swift’s latest album came out, Gumbel filmed herself — in her car, no less, where probably half of Instagram’s content is filmed — listening to the popular track “Anti-Hero.”

READ :  Twitter bets on mid-market lawyers after cutting top legal jobs

When playing, a line stuck out.

“The family gathers and reads it and then someone yells / She laughs at us from hell…”

In the video, Gumbel laughs out loud. “Oh, that’s funny,” she says.

But why?

“It’s important to understand that the possibility of an inheritance is not something that should be relied on or expected,” she explained. “Well, that’s not yours.”

This idea that nothing is guaranteed is central to Gumbel’s work. Her deep connection to her Lutheran faith gives her a unique perspective on death, one that recognizes that we have no control.

“Our typical American optimism is that very bright and shiny ‘go get em’ positive. So death is a very difficult subject. It’s like a failure,” she said. “And that leads to a lot of dysfunctions.”

We will not be masters of our own destiny forever. Gumbel says good estate planning begins with this understanding.

Or as Taylor Swift sings: “It’s me. Hello. I’mthe problem. It’s me…”

Estate planning and probate attorney Jen Gumbel at her home in LeRoy, Minnesota on February 16.

Ben Hovland | MPR News