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Practice Areas


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

Hope College
Holland, Michigan
B.A., 1989

Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

All Michigan state courts

Estate Planning and Trust Administration Attorney

Tom’s practice includes design and implementation of sophisticated estate plans, settlement of decedent’s estates, estate taxation and charitable gift planning. He advises many of Varnum’s family business owners and former business owners. Tom has held many leadership roles at Varnum during his career, including six years as executive partner. Previously, he served as the chair of the firm’s Estate Planning, Tax and Employee Benefits Practice Teams and as a member of our Policy Committee. Tom also works with several West Michigan nonprofit organizations as a trustee and advisor.

Honors and Recognitions

Best Lawyers in America® since 2006

Best Lawyers in America®, Lawyer of the Year – Trusts and Estates, Grand Rapids, 2014, 2017, 2019, 2024

Grand Rapids Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Trusts and Estates, 2019 – 2021

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated

Michigan Super Lawyers® 2011 – 2020

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

Citizens Research Council of Michigan, Board of Directors, 2019 – present

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

Spectrum Health Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2001 – 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

Garfield Park Neighborhood Association, treasurer, 1994 – 1997


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

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