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Overview

Estate Planning Attorney

Chris focuses his practice on estate planning, trust administration, nonprofit organizations, taxation and business planning. He counsels clients on wealth management matters including estate and inheritance tax issues and probate administration. As part of his tax practice, he counsels clients on fiduciary, international and partnership tax matters.

In addition, Chris is the principal author of Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, published by Independent Sector and the Council on Foundations in connection with the Mott Foundation.

Chris was named Ann Arbor “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Trusts and Estates in the 2021 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

For more information, please contact Chris Ballard at 734/372-2912 or caballard@varnumlaw.com

Experience

Experience

Provided advice to large private foundations in the following areas:

  • Nonprofit governance
  • Private foundation tax issues
  • Grant agreements
  • Self-dealing
  • Program-related investments
  • Lobbying restrictions
  • Expenditure responsibility
  • Foreign grantmaking/equivalency determinations
  • Fiscal sponsorships
  • Tipping calculations

Drafting team, rewrite of 2015 Michigan Nonprofit Corporations Act

Leadership

Honors & Recognitions

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), fellow

Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Trusts and Estates, Ann Arbor, 2019, 2021

Best Lawyers in America®, Nonprofit Law, since 2007

Community Legal Resources, Attorney of the Year Award, 2007 and 2008

DBusiness© Top Lawyers since 2011

Leading Lawyers, Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2014

Michigan Super Lawyers®, Top 50 Consumer Super Lawyers, 2017, 2018

Professional Affiliations

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, fellow, 2014 - present

State Bar of Michigan: Probate Council, secretary; Council member; Probate and Estate Planning Section, chair

Washtenaw County Bar Association

Washtenaw Estate Planning Council

Community Involvement

Civil Air Patrol, legal officer

FIRST Michigan, board

Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School, adjunct professor

News & Publications

Publications

Education

University of Michigan Law School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
J.D., 1992

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.A., with honors and distinction, 1989

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan

Court Admissions

  • All Michigan state courts
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