Main Menu

Personal Trust Services


Our lawyers and professional trustees serve personally as trustees (or co-trustees) for our clients. The trusts we serve hold marketable securities, shares of closely-held businesses, commercial and residential real estate, insurance and other illiquid and tangible assets.

Our trustee services include:

  • Serving as trustee of a complete array of trusts which our clients create
  • Trust administration
  • Safekeeping of assets (using the custodian and investment advisor of the client’s choice for marketable securities)
  • Investment performance review and analysis
  • Recordkeeping and reporting
  • Assisting with the coordination of the client’s other professional services such as investment, tax, legal and insurance

We are also able to act as personal representative or co-personal representative for an estate.

For more information, please contact either your Varnum attorney or Greg Smith at 616/336-6392 or

What distinguishes Varnum’s trust services from other trustee options?

Objectivity: We work with clients to select and review the performance of investment advisors and managers. We do not provide investment management services ourselves. Further, we do not sell financial products, accept referral fees or otherwise participate in the fees our clients’ trusts pay investment advisors.

Contacts: We are familiar with a variety of strong local, regional and national options for financial advisory services.

Team Approach: At a minimum, two experienced professionals, plus appropriate support staff, are assigned to each relationship to enhance ongoing service commitments and accountability. Our goal is to establish and maintain a close personal and professional relationship with the client and the client’s family. This relationship enables us to understand and help clients identify their goals and needs, and then work with our clients to meet these goals and needs.

Experience: Varnum trustees are senior, experienced professionals - full time professional trustees or partners in the firm’s estate planning group. The trustees take personal responsibility for the delivery of our services. We provide trust services this way to make our services both personal and confidential, which is how we operate as attorneys.

Continuity: When a successor trustee is needed, the client is consulted to assure that any new Varnum trustee is someone with whom the client will be comfortable. The client is never assigned to someone without prior consultation.

Flexible and Customized Service: We provide services tailored to meet each client family’s unique needs, not a prescribed menu of products and services we hope to sell because we happen to offer them. We have technology to help track investment performance within each trust and to prepare clients with consolidated reports, but these are only tools. We strive to provide each client with the information they want in a format they prefer for their trusts.

Fees and Value: Our trustee fees are customized for each client, based on the depth of service desired by the client and other factors. Fees are generally a fixed periodic amount. Our commitment is to be fair and to always strive to provide our clients with value commensurate with or greater than the fees for our services.

News & Publications


Back to Page
{ footer Image }