Darlene M. Cobian

Shareholder; Estate Planning and Administration

Based in our St. Paul office, Darlene is a member of the Estate Planning and Administration Section. She practices principally in the areas of:

  • Estate planning
  • Trust and estate administration
  • Charitable gifting
  • Tax-exempt organizations

Darlene assists multi-generational families with high and ultra-high net worths address complex estate and tax issues. For many years, Darlene has helped families and their advisors structure estate plans that accomplish the multiple issues affecting these families. For example:

  • Minimizing taxes related to the transition of wealth from one generation to the next;
  • Assuring the effective transition of management of family wealth and/or business from one generation to the next;
  • Assisting with addressing unique needs of a family, such as special needs beneficiaries, divorces, premature deaths, education; and
  • Addressing philanthropic interests and ways to meet these interests.

Darlene's experience includes working closely and confidentially with high and ultra-high net worth families. The relationships Darlene builds with clients yield great confidence, allowing families to share their most confidential information and concerns. As a member of Briggs' Estate Planning and Administration team, which boasts more than a 125-year history of counseling Minnesota's most notable families, Darlene can consult with other senior attorneys (an invaluable resource to clients).

Some of the specific planning activities in which Darlene is engaged are: wills, revocable trusts, generation-skipping trusts, family partnerships and other family business succession and estate planning techniques to preserve assets and minimize taxes. Her practice includes estate administration, trust administration and preparation of related federal and state income and estate tax returns. She works with clients to identify and prioritize their goals, and implement estate planning techniques to carry out those goals. She also advises individuals and nonprofit organizations on donor gift techniques and nonprofit corporate and tax issues.

Darlene is admitted to practice before the Minnesota and Wisconsin state courts. She is a member of the Ramsey County, Minnesota State and American Bar associations. In addition, Darlene is a member of the Probate and Trust Law and Taxation sections of the local, state, and national bar associations and a member of Minnesota Women Lawyers. She has been named a "Super Lawyer" by Minnesota Super Lawyers. Darlene is a member of the board of directors for Gillette Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Minnesota State University Moorhead’s Alumni Foundation. She is also involved with St. Paul Rotary.

Darlene is a frequent lecturer on topics associated with estate planning, tax-exempt organizations and charitable gifts. She has authored numerous educational articles on these topics.

Darlene received her B.A. summa cum laude from Moorhead State University and her law degree magna cum laude from William Mitchell College of Law. Darlene was a probate registrar and clerk of court in North Dakota before joining Briggs in 1992.