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Overview

Trust and Estate Attorney

Tom has over 40 years of experience in helping clients efficiently and effectively define their estate planning goals and then set up a plan to reach them. His expertise helps clients develop a clear and custom-tailored strategy, and then implement the plan by drafting clear and understandable legal documents. These strategies include protecting client wealth, transitioning closely-held businesses to the next generation, reducing potential estate and income taxes, and limiting postmortem expenses. He also has experience in dealing with the IRS in administrative hearings and litigation, in developing creative tailored solutions for business succession planning, and in creating and operating charitable trusts and private foundations.

Tom is a frequent speaker and author on estate planning, employee benefits and charitable planning, and is the past chair of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit. He is a member of the Community Foundation of Southern Michigan's Legal/Financial Advisor Network and the Tannahill Society of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

He is a resident in the firm's Birmingham and Grand Rapids offices. 

For more information, please contact Tom Bergh at 248/567-7421 or thbergh@varnumlaw.com

Experience

Experience

Represented a leading carbon steel service center in its sale to a private equity fund. Negotiated the purchase agreement and provided counsel regarding the transaction structure, employee benefits, tax matters and antitrust filings under the Hart Scott Rodino Act. Assisted the selling family in creating and implementing its estate plan and the creation and operation of a family foundation.

Drafted a complete estate plan for new client on three hours notice and personally delivered it to the client after midnight at the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Michigan Hospital for review and signing moments before the client's emergency surgery.

Leadership

Honors & Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America® since 2012

DBusiness© magazine’s Top Lawyer, Trusts and Estates, 2017, 2020

Five Star Wealth Manager, 2010 - 2012

Leading Lawyers: Tax Law - Individual; Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers® since 2008

Top Rated Lawyers™ in Tax Law, 2013

Professional Affiliations

American Bar Association: Taxation Section; Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

Oakland County Bar Association: Taxation Committee, past chair

State Bar of Michigan: Probate and Estate Planning Law Section; Taxation Section; Business Law Section

The Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit, past president

Thomas Cooley Law School, former adjunct professor of law

Community Involvement

Chamber Music Society of Detroit, Board of Directors

Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan, Planned Giving Committee

Detroit Institute of Arts, Tannahill Society

Planned Giving Roundtable for Southeast Michigan

Wayne State University, Planned Giving Committee, past chair

News & Publications

News

Speaking Engagements

Publications

Education

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
LL.M., Taxation, 1985

Wayne State University Law School
Detroit, Michigan
J.D., 1980

University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
B.S., 1976

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan

Court Admissions

  • All Michigan state courts
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • United States Tax Court
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