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Empowerment For Every Generation

Let’s Start a Conversation

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Collaborating to Develop the Optimal Inheritance Environment 

Our focus goes beyond just money - our focus is also on your family’s qualitative capital.

Human Capital

Intellectual Capital

Social Capital

Mission-Focused Capital

A disproportionately large sum of money is invested in managing and endowing the family’s financial capital. Isn’t it time to consider managing and endowing the qualitative component of our family’s human capital legacy?

At Story Family Institute, we believe that a family’s net worth is “More Than Money.” This conviction is why we’ve named our digital discovery and family communication system the MTM Vault

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Take the Next Step Towards Protecting Your Family Tree 

The typical Story Family client falls into one of three categories:


First-time wealth creators through success in business or in executive leadership. Perhaps you are your family’s first ever multi-millionaire. Money is not the issue, it’s that anxious feeling about how your financial success might adversely impact your children, who may be exhibiting signs of entitlement.


A multi-generational inheritor of wealth who has experienced the impact of wealth in your family, and you desire to do “something different” with your children than what was, or in most cases, was NOT done for you.


Adult children of either of the scenarios above who feel emotionally and operationally like they are still sitting at the “kid’s table” with respect to their knowledge and level of communication with their parents about important life issues. The Institute helps the rising generation “graduate” to the “adult table” where parent/child relationships become peer/peer and family unity takes an enormous step forward.  

Improve Your Family's Connection and Unity

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Estate Design for an Optimal Outcome

Despite the fear of raising entitled children, the path most wealth holders take is the path of least resistance which is to say-nothing and do-nothing about wealth education. Taking the do-nothing path rarely leads to an optimal outcome. There are no guarantees of success in seeking to do something great; yet there is a far greater risk of failure by doing nothing.

We help the current wealth-holding generation begin with a vision of their optimal objective by helping them develop a written Family Objectives Statement which creates a powerful focus.  This new focus empowers our client and their planning team to use modern legal structures and the best state jurisdictions to better incorporate ingenuity and vision into helping you structure your desired outcome.

“Lean into” the opportunity to start something exciting that will have an enduring positive impact for generations within your family.

Think outside the box; Click Here to begin to define your optimal outcome. Answer our questions, bring in your current documents and let’s compare your current plan to the one you’d like to have based on your initial answers to our questionnaire.

Once begun, half done!  

Please note: At Story Family Institute, though we have attorneys on our team, Story does not draft legal documents, we are design consultants.  We need collaborative attorneys to create the legal framework which enables great ideas to make the leap from concept to reality.

A Collaborative Approach to Financial Confidence

Take the First Step

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Strengthen Family Ties and Values to Last Generations


Many of us relate to money as an indicator of affection.  Money, while associated with love, is only an echo of affection. Interpersonal engagement, communication, building something of enduring value together within our family is hard work but rewarding work that draws parents and adult children into fellowship at a level that endures. Creating an interdependent family environment is about more than money; it is about enhancing family unity, despite the money.

Story Family Institute provides a clear, structured process that guides families through a series of four modules, supported by a digital technology platform that is designed to define, protect, and perpetuate what matters most to each family, beyond their money.

James Hughes who wrote the book, Family Wealth parenthetically observes: “You likely have a budget for the cost of managing and growing financial or quantitative capital. Have your ever considered a budget for growing your family’s qualitative capital; its human, intellectual, social, and mission-focused capital?” If you agree that wealth is more than money, why not investigate making an investment in managing and developing your family’s MTM capital? 

Start Your 15 Minute More Than Money Assessment Now!

Immediately review your results and if you are interested, we would be delighted to meet with you and preview our web-based digital technology platform and process.

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Really? Why Should We?

As the younger members of the rising generation you may be wondering, “why are our parents asking us to do this?” Or as a parent you might be asking, “Our kids have their own lives, is this really necessary or even possible?” Life and family matters are never simple or easy. The “easy” path is the do-nothing path. If some family members want a different outcome than what has thus far been created, something new and different must happen. Story Family Institute jump starts this new direction! Starting a meaningful conversation between the generations is so difficult because past patterns and expectations have been set. With Story Family Institute’s help, both generations get a clean slate and create a “safe, non-judgmental environment” to ask questions and seek answers in new ways.

The rising generation begins to learn, in age appropriate ways, about how inherited wealth will impact their life choices. The wealth-holding generation can begin to pass the baton and share decision making that empowers the next generation. Family conversations around meaningful agendas establish commonalities as well as define intra-family differences that can become unique strengths that, like the root systems of great redwoods, create an interdependent environment or root system which adds strength to ALL generations! 

How is it that the giant redwood can grow to such heights?

It is not the individual root system of each tree, but rather the interdependence of the roots of many generations, from old growth to the newest seedlings, that supports the family of trees as they reach the sky. These tallest of all trees have a root system that rarely goes deeper than 12 feet yet because the roots fully embrace across all generations, their combined strength becomes a massive foundation to support the entire family vision, the forest if you will, while more effectively supporting the health and vision of each individual tree or family member as a part of the greater whole.

It is our hope that you and your family will “lean into” the risks and opportunities of attempting to proactively do something different and trust Story Family Institute to guide you through it all.

Break the Silence

Discover a Better Outcome

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 Your Proactive, Hands-On, Collaborative Team 

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child. Experience tells us that it certainly takes a "village of professionals" to provide strength and insight to a family across multiple generations. Story Family Institute enjoys collaborating with a select group of external professionals who add depth and versatility to our shared client relationships. Collectively, we are "the village" who are here to support your family across generations. These external professionals are resources to call upon and in no way are our relationships with these professionals intended to replace our clients' existing trusted advisers.

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Phillip Barnhill, CLU

Advisor & Advanced Planning Specialist
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“We help families and businesses make informed decisions around both the troubling issues and great opportunities they face on a day to day basis.”

Phillip Barnhill, CLU | Advisor & Advanced Planning Specialist
952-657-7205 | phil.barnhill@storyfamilyinstitute.com | LinkedIn | Schedule A Meeting

Phil has provided sound, forward-thinking counsel to businesses and individuals for nearly 40 years. But more than just counseling clients, Phil genuinely knows where they’re coming from. As founding partner, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of The Advocate Group, LLC, from 1999-2013, Phil brings an enormously valuable, first-person understanding of the needs and concerns of Story Family Institute's entrepreneurial clients. Virtually 100% of the clientele from Phil’s former firm were officers of local Fortune 500 companies. From guiding companies through employee benefit plan design to helping executives optimize their compensation, Phil offers Story Family Institute's clients a wellspring of knowledge and practical insight.


  • Meeting the financial planning and investment management needs of senior corporate executives.
  • Expanding an understanding of the powerful asset and wealth protection benefits of unique on-shore, directed trust jurisdictions such as South Dakota.
  • Leading collaborative teams of multi-disciplined professionals focused on serving clients.
  • Deploying a values-infused process for wealth preservation planning which focuses comprehensively on the clients’ charitable, family and financial objectives, which places children in the optimal inheritor environment.


  • Bachelor of Arts, Economics, Hamilton College
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)


Jurisdictions like South Dakota may be great for asset protection, but Montana’s Big Sky Country — with its fishing, hiking, skiing and horseback riding — is the jurisdiction that renews Phil’s spirit and feeds his soul.

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Stoddard Barnhill, CFP®

Director of Planning & Next Gen Senior Advisor
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“This isn’t stereotypical financial planning. We’re there to be an advocate for our clients and to do what is ultimately best for them both now and in the long run.”

Stoddard Barnhill, CFP® | Director of Planning & Next Gen Senior Advisor
952-657-7206 | stoddard.barnhill@storyfamilyinstitute.com | LinkedIn | Schedule a meeting

Stoddard lends bold ideas and forward-thinking strategies to the Story Family Institute team that benefit the firm’s entire client roster — particularly the adult children of the firm’s clients and those professionals who are in the early stages of establishing their careers and families. Stoddard finds great fulfillment in walking alongside his clients, providing them with the tools and information they need to make educated, meaningful decisions. Regardless of their season of life, Stoddard’s clients can rest assured that he is fully dedicated to helping them achieve their goals both now and in the future.

Professional Passions

  • Getting a complete understanding of his clients’ priorities.
  • Designing and implementing fully customized cash flow models.
  • Building “what if” scenarios so clients can see potential ramifications of specific decisions.
  • Sharing his affinity for visual learning by turning numbers into colorful, client-tailored, real-time infographics.

Education & Certification

  • Bachelor of Science, Economics and Marketing, Marquette University
  • Series 7, Series 66
  • CFP Professional

A chapter from Stoddard’s story

A huge basketball fan and former player, Stoddard still applies lessons from the court to his life, especially his profession. His motto? Show up early, stay late and work hard. It’s an easy motto to live by, since Stoddard loves and is genetically predisposed to his career as the fourth generation in his family to work in the financial services industry.

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Michele Perry-Barnhill, JD

Director of Operations & Client Experience
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“The real value in Story Family Institute is the delivery of intellectual knowledge and lasting relationships around bigger issues than money.”

Michele Perry-Barnhill, JD | Director of Operations & Client Experience
952-6577-7203 |  michele.barnhill@storyfamilyinstitute.com | LinkedIn

Incredibly focused and a shining example of principled leadership, Michele has spent 30 years in the financial, insurance and estate planning industries. After a brief stint in the world of public accounting, Michele established a private estate-planning law practice, which she ran out of her home for 15 years while raising three children. Michele then joined The Advocate Group, a large regional Registered Investment Advisory firm, as a founding partner to head up the operations department. Today, Story Family Institute's clients directly benefit from Michele’s artful mediation skills in addition to the broad array of abilities that make her an essential member of the team.

Professional Passions

  • Managing and monitoring today’s complex insurance underwriting process while maintaining exquisite communication with clients who are actively engaged in underwriting.
  • Mediation: assisting families transitioning to “parenting their parents” and handling sibling and intergenerational issues.
  • Diving into and monitoring details to optimize Story Family Institute's processes.

Education & Certification

  • Bachelor of Science, Syracuse University Magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa
  • Juris Doctorate, William Mitchell College of Law
  • Certified Mediator

A chapter from Michele’s story

As a trained mediator and an active member of her church’s Elder Board, Michele is a firm believer that listening and hearing the concerns of others is essential to making a difference in people’s lives. She has extensive experience in the caring for aging parents and their estates, and considers the work she did for her parents and in-laws one of the greatest honors of her life.

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Cory Kiner, CPA

E.T. Kelly & Associates, LLC
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What Does Cory Do For Our Family Clients?

Cory executes a review of each of our clients’ prior State and Federal income tax returns and then he writes a findings memo which is helpful to the Story team and most often helpful to our client families. We have no intent to replace a trusted advisory relationship with a client’s existing CPA/accountant.  The intent of this 2nd Opinion is to educate Story advisors and to provide insight to our client as necessary. The existence of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) provides ample reason for the benefit of this additional perspective.  For those clients desiring to bring a creative CPA onto their planning team, Cory is our preferred collaborator.

What is Cory's Expertise? 

Cory is a CPA and Partner in his regional firm, E.T Kelly & Associates, LLC.  The Story team has worked with Cory for almost a decade with a focus on provision of insight around the tax impact of different stock option exercise strategies and held share diversification protocols.

Why Does Story Enjoy Collaborating With Cory?

We enjoy working with Cory because he is responsive and a creative thinker.  Cory has a servant’s heart and our clients love his work and his communication style.  Many of our senior officer clients are former CPA’s who continue to execute and file their own income tax returns yet Cory’s tax projections are remarkably helpful to the do-it-yourself (DIY) tax preparer. Cory is both the Story corporate tax preparer and likewise, all Story owners personal tax returns are prepared by Cory.  Lastly, Cory and his team are our primary go-to source for all challenging income tax related research issues that we wish to explore at our expense on behalf of our client families.

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Angela Alvig, CPA

Simplify Wealth, LLC
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What Does Angela Do For Our Family Clients? 

Part of improving the quality of life of our family clients is being able to help them reduce stress by organizing just about anything one can imagine (be that finances or one’s closet!).  Angela and her team can either take over a process like bill paying on behalf of a family or, if preferred, Angela’s team can teach a family member how to most effectively execute a process of record keeping, bill paying, and financial organization. Recent research indicates that spending money to free up time and create peace of mind, has a more lasting and satisfying impact on lifestyle than buying more stuff.  Angela and her team help our clients enhance life satisfaction by “delegating and decluttering” wherever satisfaction can be generated. Angela’s team also helps provide administrative services for some of the specialized estate and charitable planning techniques utilized in Story’s consultative process.

What Is Angela's Expertise?

Angela is a CPA, formerly affiliated as a senior Manager in the Private Client Services group of WIPFLI, LLP, a prominent local Accounting firm. Angela’s team does not do income tax compliance work, but they help a cadre of clients to organize financial information to make tax preparation fast and efficient. Angela also has extensive experience managing a multi-client family office for a group of partners in a local Hedge Fund organization. Regardless of the complexity of a situation, Angela’s team can cut through the clutter.

Why Does Story Enjoy Collaborating with Angela?

Angela is a super organized, sponge for information and she can get to the nub of an intricate issue in record time.  We often turn to Angela to assist with complex issues like researching assisted living options and managing the financial mechanics for the parents of our clients, which is a process somewhat affectionately known as “Parenting Parents” for clients who are simultaneously parenting their children and their parents. Using a third party like Angela to record keep and pay bills can help to maintain family unity in difficult circumstances.

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External Legal Team

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What Do Attorneys Do For Our Family Clients?

Within the context of Story Family Institute, though we have several attorneys on our internal team, Story does not draft legal documents.  We need attorneys to create the legal framework which enables great ideas and concepts to make the leap from conception into reality.

Broadly speaking, the most frequently encountered areas that require outside drafting are:

  • Core or foundational estate planning documents.  These documents are the starting point for all great estate and legacy planning.  Creating great “foundational” documents is the first step which allows our clients to build nicely upon this new foundation as their goals, objectives, and tolerance for complexity come into greater focus. Two of every ten clients have perfect foundational documents; eight of ten do not and they are thrilled to take this first step in “getting things in order.”

The Story team will collaborate with any attorney the client desires yet; as is said in medicine: “There is no such thing as minor surgery, only minor surgeons.” We prefer collaborating with a select group of practitioners with whom we have worked in the past, many of whom will provide an institutional discount to the client because of our extensive existing knowledge of the client and because of the past introductions made to many of these practitioners.  Story never receives referral compensation from attorneys.

  • Advanced or Phase II estate and legacy planning documents. There exists another universe of estate and legacy planning; one might also say that there exists another palate of colors to draw from beyond “foundational estate planning” which have immense tax, social, and family benefits. As a client’s net worth skyrockets due to acceleration through stock options or other circumstances, there arises a need to apply new color and fresh thinking to more fully accomplish Family Objectives. What is true in athletics is also true in the law; almost any kid with athletic ability can play middle-school basketball, but to step on a court with Michael Jordan or Lebron James requires serious skills!  Advanced legacy planning, where we are creating a Family Bank, or drafting a trust in another jurisdiction like South Dakota or Nevada, require a certain skillset which most core estate planning practitioners simply do not possess.

  • Asset Protection Planning. This is the most arcane, and least often utilized aspect of Family Legacy law, yet it can be the most powerful aspect of retaining assets in the family bloodline, away from the reach of creditors, outside the reach of state income tax, and well beyond the reach of Federal Estate Tax as assets pass from one generation to the next.  Practitioners in the art of Asset Protection are like great baseball pitchers: “they are as scarce as hen’s teeth.”

Many of our clients are first generation wealth creators and as such there exists a preexisting mindset that legal fees are something to minimize or avoid.  In reality, legal fees are a direct investment in the family.  Legal fees are not something to be avoided.  In reference to the kind of legal implementation both Story Capital and Story Family Institute are focused upon, legal fees are the very breath which gives life to creativity, inspiration and vision. 

Why do we like to use attorney's in our sphere of influence?

  • They are friendly
  • They speak English, not legalese
  • They draw pictures which illustrate complex legal concepts
  • They interface with our technology platform
  • Like sub-contractors, they want to keep our clients happy, which keeps the Story Team happy. We call this quality control. 

What Will Your Family Be Known For?

Define Your Legacy

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More Than Money Family Conversations

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Open the Lines of Communication

Set Up a Meeting

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Various Resources Available To Institute Clients

More Than Money Vault

This is a link to the login site for your family’s encrypted MTM  online software. 

The MTM Vault is the only digital system providing a simple, elegant and effective Family Dashboard, comprehensive assessment, and structured learning and communication portal for the entire family.

Click Here for our full MTM Brochure. 

MTM Portal Login

More Than Money Assessment

This is a link to a free assessment that will pinpoint the current level of Family Engagement within the four structured learning modules of the More Than Money process; Values, Legacy, Gratitude or Mission-Focused Capital, and Governance.

This same assessment is taken periodically by family members throughout the guided discovery process to measure successful achievement, within the family, for each module in which the family is engaged.


Start Your Assessment

Modern Estate Plan Design Questionnaire

This is a link to a downloadable Estate Plan Design Questionnaire. 

 This thoughtful questionnaire is designed to both inform the reader about the most modern new tools and changes in Estate Plan Design and to help the questionnaire taker assess if it would be beneficial to schedule a design discussion with a Story Family Institute team member.

Download The Questionnaire

The Purposeful Planning Institute

Story Family Institute is a member of the Purposeful Planning Institute (PPI) which is a cross-disciplinary learning center dedicated to sharing best practices for transforming the way estate plan design is done and to mastering and promoting the concept of collaborative, client-centered estate plan design. 

Feel free to click on the link to learn more about PPI.  It is our hope that you will discover that Story Institute’s membership is indicative of our commitment to sharing a new way forward for the ultimate client-directed, ultra-modern, estate plan design experience.  

Visit PPI

Build a Stronger Family Bond That Will Withstand Any Obstacle

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Break the Silence! Let's Start a Conversation.

Schedule An Introductory Consultation


Story Family Institute, LLC
706 2nd Ave S. Suite 300
Minneapolis, MN 55402





For your convenience the following Regus office locations are available:

Eden Prairie – Crosstown Corporate

6385 Old Shady Oak Road
 Suite 250

Roseville – Bonestroo

2355 Highway 36 West
 Suite 400

Edina – Grandview Square

7701 France Avenue South

St. Louis Park – West End

1650 West End Blvd.
 Suite 100