Who are you?

My name is Jennifer Gumbel and I'm an attorney with Hoversten, Johnson, Beckmann & Hovey, LLP in Austin, Minnesota (the Spam Austin, not the good music Austin... unless you count the Gear Daddies... which I do).  Before coming to Austin, I was a partner with Springer & Gumbel, P.A. in Fillmore County, Minnesota.

In addition to helping people organize their affairs or the affairs of their loved ones, I'm a wife, mom and served for a time as small town mayor (picture Leslie Knope, but replace her pictures of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher).

I graduated with honors from Drake University Law School in 2007. While at Drake, I was honored to be published on my favorite topic, planning for transnationals. Got Milch?: The Effect of Foreign Citizenship on Agricultural Estate Planning in the Wake of European Dairy Immigration was published in Spring 2007 edition of the Drake Journal of Agricultural Law. I've also presented a continuing legal education classes (school for lawyers) on estate planning and for transnationals in particular.

I'm licensed in Minnesota and obtained a Florida licensed, which is in "inactive" status (meaning I can't practice Florida law). It's tough to keep up with those required continuing legal education classes for Florida law from all the way up North. My first job was serving as a judicial law clerk for Judge Donald E. Rysavy and Judge Fred W. Wellmann in Austin. In addition to this blog, I'm also a past contributor to the national legal blog, Lawyerist.                   

I'm originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 2000, I graduated with a degree in General Bible from the Association Free Lutheran Bible School in Plymouth, Minnesota and graduated with degrees in Political Science and German from the University of Minnesota in 2004. I'm a fluent Deutschsprecher (German speaker), which is in no small part attributable to my German born husband and his family. See where the transnational stuff comes in?  Professionally, I'm a member of the American Bar Association, Florida Bar Association, Minnesota Bar Association and I sit on the 10th District Ethics Committee.

Why do you like this stuff?

You mean, why am I morbid? I guess I don't consider myself morbid, just more like not afraid of talking about death, which I chalk up to two reasons.

The first is my world-view. I'm a bible-thumper. Well, as close to a bible-thumper as Lutherans get. We're a pretty reserved bunch if you aren't familiar. So... bible-..tapper? Anyway, I'm convinced death isn't something to fear. I've actually known many who wait on it expectantly... which is not a point that I'm at quite yet, but as crazy as it sounds, aspire to be.

The second reason is my own family history. My father died very unexpectedly of an aggressive form of cancer and at a relatively young age, when I was only fourteen. Yeah no doubt, that was awful. But because of that experience, when I ease the process in anyway for another family, I understand the good it does.

As a society we might have come leaps and bounds in knowing how to frankly discuss thinks like money and sex, but haven't made much ground in overcoming awkwardness dealing with death.  That awkwardness actually does a disservice to the ones we love, because if we don't deal with our own mortality, we force our loved ones to deal with it for us. Organizing those affairs isn't being morbid, it's just good sense.