In 1968 Walter J. Wheeler spun out from the Wheeler & Fredrikson law firm and continued as a sole practitioner to serve a core group of about a dozen key valued small business owners and their families. By the mid-1970s, Walter’s son, Tom (W. Thomas Wheeler), graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Law, was admitted to the bar, and they formed Wheeler & Wheeler, Attorneys at Law. After nine years of private law practice with his father, Tom was hired in 1985 into a full time position by the personal trust department of Norwest Bank, (then one of the nation’s largest national banks, now known as Wells Fargo Bank).
Working from the inside of a national bank personal trust department, Tom had a unique, highly educational and formative eight year career experience. First working in personal trust new business development, he met and worked with most of the senior estate planning attorneys then actively practicing in the Minneapolis St. Paul metropolitan area. His responsibilities included personally reading, reviewing and critiquing or approving every trust agreement and will submitted to the bank in which the bank was being asked to serve as personal representative or trustee. He served on the bank’s model will and trust agreement forms committee and on the personal trust department’s investment review committee. He was promoted to Vice President and personal trust business unit manager, a business unit managing about one-third of the Minneapolis personal trust accounts. His unit was assigned higher risk or “sensitive” trust accounts, meaning accounts then involving litigation.
Tom returned to the private practice of law in 1992, committed to focusing on improving the quality of trust instruments and fairly and efficiently delivering trust-based estate planning legal service. After five years of association with Rob Engelhart, he incorporated Wheeler & Engelhart, P.A. in 2006.
Today, Tom Wheeler and Rob Engelhart III continue to build upon the legacy started by the Wheeler family. Together, they provide professional legal services in the areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration to individuals and families, including Minnesota family farms and small businesses.