Matthew Gardner
Gardner Law Firm, P.C.

Tel: (515) 421-4411
Fax: (800) 941-4150
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While my profession is an attorney, my most important job is that of father to my young daughters.  With the values that I place on my own family, the work I do in helping my clients and their families is reinforced.  I reside in Urbandale, Iowa, and am an involved citizen in the community.

I was born and raised in rural southern Iowa, where I met and married my highschool sweetheart.  My parents were ideal role models when it came to displaying a work ethic.  My dad worked for a utility company as lineman for over 40 years, and also operated a farm as a “hobby” which became much more than that.  In addition, my parents acquired and managed several residential rental properties over the years.  Looking back, hard work was an expected way of life and that is reflected in my ability to be continuously active and engaged.  

Today, my hobbies include running, watching my kids’ soccer and Cyclone athletics.  Running is a relatively recent hobby for me, but one that I enjoy tremendously for many reasons.  Whether a 5K or a half-marathon, the competitiveness of a race keeps me going.


For over fifteen years, I worked at a local, mid-sized law firm developing my practice and working with different mentors.  Eventually I decided that I wanted to run a firm “my way” which led me to the decision to start my own law firm in 2013.  

My goal is to advise and bring solutions to individuals and families regarding estate planning, wealth preservation and business planning.  Through the national peer-review ranking system with Martindale-Hubbell, I have achieved the AV-rating, which is the highest ranking given to attorneys.

After more than 17 years of experience in the legal field, I know what I do best, and I also know what I can’t do.  If a client or potential client needs assistance in an area that I’m not familiar with, I have a network of relationships with other attorneys that allow me to best serve the client.  I won’t try to be something that I’m not.

Areas of Practice

Trusts and Estates Law

I draft various types of wills and trusts, including Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts, Single and Joint Revocable Trusts, Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts and Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts. I also assist clients with drafting Power of Attorney forms and Living Wills. I am a frequent lecturer for Continuing Legal Education seminars and other speaking events. I oversee the administration of estates throughout courts all across Iowa, including post-mortem tax planning and preparation of state inheritance tax returns, federal estate tax returns and fiduciary income tax returns.  Estate planning services are based on a flat-fee approach.

Business Planning

I assist clients with formation and operation of business entities, whether it be a limited liability company, corporation or partnership. Integrating estate planning and business planning is critical to ensure the continued wealth viability for successive generations. Integral in the business planning process, I advise clients on solutions for protection of assets from claims of creditors.

Real Estate

Whether it is the preparation of real estate purchase agreements, review of abstracts and preparation of title opinions, or preparation/review of closing statements, I counsel buyers and sellers of real property, both residential and commercial. I can also assist individuals seeking to sell homes on their own (For Sale by Owner "FSBO") throughout the sales process.

Pro Bono

I volunteer my services with the Iowa Volunteer Lawyers Project Program, and have served as Chairman of the Services to the Elderly Committee of the Iowa State Bar Association.

General Information

Birth: Centerville, Iowa (1969)
Iowa State University (B.A. 1992)
Drake University Law School (J.D. - with Honors 1997)
Martindale-Hubbell “AV” Rating (An AV­­ certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence.)
2011-2014 “Great Plains Super Lawyers®“ (Only 5% of attorneys in the state are named to list.)
Polk County Bar Association, Member
Iowa State Bar Association, Member
Probate Section, Council and Section Member
American Bar Association, Member
Des Moines Estate Planners, Member
Iowa Academy of Trust and Estate Counsel, Director and Member
Urbandale Education Foundation, Director
Lutheran Church of Hope, Member
Leadership Urbandale (class of 2009/2010)
Youth soccer coach – State “E” License

Presentations and Publications

Iowa State Bar 2008 Probate & Trust Law Seminar "Equitable Adoption Doctrine" October 2008
National Business Institute "Probate Process from Start to Finish" October 2008, October 2009
Institute for Paralegal Education "Estate Planning and Probate for the Paralegal/Legal Assistant in Iowa" April 2002
National Business Institute "Fundamental Probate Procedures and Practice" June 2007, June 2006
National Business Institute "Estate Planning Basics" December 2009
"Inside the Minds: Estate Planning Client Strategies" Aspatore (2009)
Iowa State Bar 2011 Probate & Trust Law Seminar "Intentional Interference with Inheritance" October 2011
Lorman Education Services “New Era of Estate Planning in Iowa”  January 2012