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Overview

Estate Planning and Trust Administration Attorney

Tom’s practice includes design and implementation of sophisticated estate plans, active administration of trust accounts, settlement of decedent’s estates, estate taxation and charitable gift planning. He advises many of Varnum’s family business owners and is a member of our Family Business Practice Team. Tom currently serves as the firm’s executive partner, one of two managing partners. Previously, he served five years as the chair of the firm’s Estate Planning, Tax, and Employee Benefits Practice Teams, followed by three years on our Policy Committee. Tom also works with several West Michigan nonprofit organizations as a trustee and advisor.

Leadership

Honors & Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America®, Grand Rapids Litigation - Trusts & Estates since 2006

Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year, Grand Rapids Litigation – Trusts and Estates, 2014, 2017

Leading Lawyers, Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2011

Professional Affiliations

Grand Rapids Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan, Character & Fitness Committee, 2011 - 2013

West Michigan Estate Planning Council

West Michigan Planned Giving Group, 2003 - 2010; president, 2009

Community Involvement

DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation: Board of Trustees, 2007 - present; vice chair, 2013 - 2017

East Grand Rapids Schools Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2011 - 2017

Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, treasurer, 1994 - 1997

Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2016 - present

Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Professional Advisor Committee, 2011 - present

Heart of West Michigan United Way: Professional Advisor Committee, 1999 - 2003; chair, 2003

Hope College Alumni Association: Board of Trustees, 2010 - 2017; president, 2014 - 2016

Leave a Legacy, West Michigan Chapter Steering Committee, 2002 - 2005

Spectrum Health Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2001 - 2007

News & Publications

Presentations

Presenter, "Long-Term Estate Planning in a Short Term World," West Michigan Tax Symposium, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, Grand Rapids, November 29, 2011 and National Committee on Planned Giving, Western Michigan Chapter, Grand Rapids, December 1, 2011

Presenter, "Fiduciary Ethics and Family Business: I Know I Owe a Duty, but to Whom??," Midwest Trust and Wealth Management Conference (Cooperative Effort of Michigan, Indiana and Illinois Bankers Associations), Ann Arbor, October 12, 2011

Presenter, "120 Years of Gift Planning Experience: Past Presidents Share Tales from the Road," National Committee on Planned Giving, Western Michigan Chapter, Grand Rapids, May 25, 2011

Presenter, "Charitable Gift Planning – Essentials and More," Western Michigan Association of Financial Services Professionals, Grand Rapids, November 11, 2010

Presenter, "The Federal Estate Tax: Past, Present, and Future," National Committee on Planned Giving, Western Michigan Chapter - Annual Meeting, Grand Rapids, December 3, 2009

Presenter, "What Every Estate Planner Needs to Know About the GST Tax," Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education, 44th Annual Probate Seminar, Traverse City. May, 2004

Presenter, "Planning Challenges for the Young Family,"  ICLE, 2002

Presenter, "Generation Skipping Transfer Tax: Essentials and Exotica,"  ICLE, 1999

Presenter, "Marital Deduction Formulas: Drafting and Implementation," ICLE Seminar, 1998

Moderator, Michigan Institute for Continuing Legal Education Advanced Estate Planning Institute, Grand Rapids, 1997

Publications

Education

Northwestern University
School of Law
Chicago, Illinois
J.D., 1992

Hope College
Holland, Michigan
B.A., 1989

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan

Court Admissions

  • All Michigan state courts
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