Douglas W Thesenvitz

Douglas W Thesenvitz

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

I am an attorney. I focus my practice on what is generally called estate planning. I focus on estate planning because most often individuals and families have family and loved ones. People who create estate plans are often motivated by their love and concern for their family and loved ones. Getting to the level of understanding the client's love, concern and motivation helps me to prepare estate plans that communicate that love and concern to family and loved ones.

A well done estate plan requires the attorney to have what we might call "hard skills" or a substantial knowledge of the law of wills, trusts, estates and taxes. These "hard skills" are what they taught in law school. Lawyers must work on these skills continuously to keep abreast of the ever changing legal landscape.

Also vital are what we might call the "soft skills." One of the most rewarding aspects of the estate planning practice is the conversation. Meeting with estate planning clients in my office is rarely on the clock. I don't worry about how long the conversation takes. I need to get to know the client. I need to discover the client's motivating principals. Learning from individuals and families about their fears, hopes, dreams, passions and plans is vital. When I have these conversations with my clients, truly comprehensive estate plans are made.

Helping people with this part of their lives is why I am here.

Areas of Practice

  • Estate Planning
  • Wills, Trusts, Probates & Estates
  • Business Planning, Formation and Maintenance
  • Adoption

Bar Admissions

  • South Dakota, 1989
  • U.S. District Court District of South Dakota, 1998
  • Flandreau Santee Sioux Court, 1999


  • University of South Dakota School of Law, Vermillion, South Dakota
    • J.D. - 1988
  • University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota
    • B.S. - 1985
    • Honors: Dean's List
    • Major: Philosophy, Political Science
    • Minor: History


  • Constitutional Law, Kilian Community College, 1992 - 2001
  • Criminal Procedure, Kilian Community College, 1992 - 2001

Past Employment Positions

  • State of South Dakota Unified Judicial System, Law Clerk, 1988 - 1989
  • Minnehaha County States Attorney, Deputy States Attorney, 1989 - 1998

Pro Bono Activities

  • Second Circuit Pro Bono Project, 2000 - Present


  • English