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Varnum Receives Highest Ranking in 2017 Chambers High Net Worth Guide

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October 10, 2017

Varnum's Estate Planning practice has received the highest possible ranking in the 2017 edition of Chambers High Net Worth (HNW), which rates service providers to the private wealth market.

Varnum was ranked in the First Band of legal providers in the guide, which covers private wealth management work and related specialties in key jurisdictions around the world. The guide features in-depth editorial about the leading lawyers and law firms for wealthy individuals and families. Chambers HNW published the following:

‘The estate planning and estate administration teams at Varnum work with business owners and other private clients. The firm is also notable for its integrated fiduciary service, as highlighted by an interviewee: “They have their own private trust company, which is a strength, and their probate litigation department is very strong.”

‘A market observer notes that the firm maintains a “good, long-standing estate planning practice.” Calling Varnum “an excellent firm,” a source enthuses that “they’re all fine lawyers and they’ve always had a very strong estate planning practice.” In addition to tax planning, members of the team are experienced in advising clients on such issues as asset protection and philanthropy. 

‘Varnum is a long-established presence in the Michigan legal market. Sources say that it is a 'great firm' and identify the estate planning team as 'exceptional.' Its attorneys handle all manner of estate planning and administration matters, including those concerning tax compliance, charitable giving and trust and estate disputes.

Chambers and Partners is a London-based research and publishing organization which has been ranking lawyers and law firms for the past 26 years. Chambers directories are based on research of 150 full time editors and researchers who conduct in-depth telephone interviews of lawyers and clients. Chambers HNW is their first directory for the private wealth market. In addition to lawyers and law firms, the guide features listings and information about many of the top accountancy and tax firms, private banks, wealth management firms and multi-family offices acting for high net worth individuals.

Several Varnum attorneys were cited as notable practitioners. Chambers HNW published the following:

A peer refers to Dirk Hoffius as "a very technically astute lawyer. He's the person you'd call if there's a tricky provision and you want to review the Internal Revenue Code." He is a long-standing member of the Michigan private wealth community, and works with high net worth families to establish estate and succession plans. He is actively involved in non-profit organizations in Grand Rapids. One source calls Hoffius "a very good strategic thinker, a fine lawyer and a good person."

Thomas Kyros is Varnum's executive partner, and is a former chair of the firm's estate planning practice. He handles estate, business succession and charitable planning for private clients. Describing Kyros as "a very good attorney in this space," a peer praises his ability to represent family members in complex matters: "He has a good balance of representing the client and working well towards a collaborative goal." A market observer states that "I would refer somebody to him with confidence."

Marilyn Lankfer is a well-known trusts and estates practitioner in Michigan. Lauding her skill and experience, an observer states that "she's an outstanding lawyer – she's been involved in estate planning for over 35 years." Lankfer advises on wealth planning and the administration of trusts and estates. A peer says: "She's a lovely person, and a good speaker. I have referred people to her, I have confidence in her skills."

Varnum's Estate Planning Group is one of the largest in the state, experienced in the most sophisticated tax and planning techniques. The estate planning team offers a broad range of services to fit individual needs, from the simplest plans to the most complex.

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