Mike is a business and estate planning lawyer in the Grand Rapids office of Foster Swift and is the current leader of the firm's Agri-Business sub-practice group. His area of expertise is business succession planning. This involves not only transitioning businesses to the next generation of ownership, but also serving as outside general counsel to the business and estate planning counsel to its owners and former owners.
- Business Formations and Transactions. Mike assists individuals and businesses throughout numerous industries in a variety of matters, including entity selection and formation; drafting shareholder and operating agreements, taxable and tax-free purchases and sales of businesses (stock purchase, asset purchases, and mergers), and detailed analysis of a variety of federal income tax matters, including corporate, partnership, individual, and transfer tax issues.
- Business and Farm Succession Planning. He identifies tax efficient exit strategies for the owners of a wide variety of businesses to achieve their goals (including estate tax planning), including the sale of a successful business to fund the owner's retirement or charitable goals and passing a family-owned business on to the next generation. This often includes planned gifting, estate planning, and part-gift/part-sale transactions. Mike is also familiar with the particular needs and goals of family-owned farming operations and the unique planning challenges in that industry.
- Estate Planning. Mike assists individuals with estate planning needs on a wide range of matters including drafting of wills, revocable living trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts as well as intentional grantor trusts/intentionally defective trusts.
- Estate Administration. Mike represents trustees in the administration of trust estates and personal representatives in the administration of probate estates, providing counsel to clients on their rights and duties under Michigan law when serving as a fiduciary.
- Agri-Business. Mike works on a variety of agricultural and cooperative law matters. This includes assisting with cooperative formation and governance, compliance with the Capper-Volstead Act, contract drafting and review, entity selection and governance for farm operations and detailed analysis of state and federal tax issues.
Mike received his undergraduate degree from Calvin University and his Juris Doctorate from the Michigan State University College of Law. He graduated summa cum laude and was a Dean King Honors Scholar. Mike attended Michigan State on a full tuition scholarship and was an active member of the MSU Law Review for two years.
Honors & Recognitions
Best Lawyers in America© 2021 "One to Watch" (Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law)
Memberships & Affiliations
- Start Garden
- Mentoring Program
- Wedgwood Foundation
- Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors
- Church of the Servant CRC
- Stewardship Committee Member
- Drafting a variety of transactional documents, including the purchase of business assets valued at $500,000, a stock purchase of more than $350,000 and the purchase of commercial real property.
- Developing administrative procedures and spending requirements to achieve charitable goals while complying with applicable laws, including the establishment of a scholarship program, a Christian private operating foundation to perform missionary work, and a supporting organization for the benefit of local area Christian organizations.
- Reviewing the organizational documents of for-profit and non-profit organizations for discrepancies or inconsistencies, revising the documents as necessary to ensure they reflect the client's goals and comply with state and federal law.
- Assisting in the creation of a business succession plan for the owner of a family business that transferred ownership of a company to children involved in the business while also providing income to the owner's spouse and non-business children and eliminating an estimated estate tax liability of over $175,000.
- Assisting in the creation of a farm succession plan for an operation with assets exceeding $10 million, including the selection and creation of business entities to hold and transfer farm assets. The succession plan gradually transferred responsibilities to the next generation while also providing a reliable source of income for the older generation and off-farm children.
- Assisting in the estate plan of an individual with a net worth of more than $11 million, utilizing gifting strategies and an irrevocable life insurance trust to accomplish the client's estate planning goals while eliminating potential estate tax liability.
Recent Blog Posts
BizTech Law Blog
- The Impact of PPP Loans on Mergers & Acquisitions
- Recent Questions Regarding PPP Forgiveness Applications
Health Care Law Blog
Tax Law Blog
- Strategies and Resources for Year End Tax Planning
- IRS Finalizes 199A Safe Harbor for Rental Property
- S Elections for ESOP Companies
- Year-End Tax Planning Considerations
- How Does the New Pass-Through Deduction Work?
- IRS to Announce Proposed Regulations on Full Expensing
- Should You Convert Your Business to a C Corporation?
- USDA to Reopen CFAP2: Additional $6 Billion in Aid, March 31, 2021
- Loss of Basis Step-Up at Death and Increase in Capital Gains Tax, Foster Swift Trust & Estates Law News, February 2, 2021
- COVID-19 Stimulus: PPP 2.0 and Other Relief for Small Businesses, Foster Swift Business & Tax Law E-blast, December 29, 2020
- 2020 Year End Tax Planning Tips, Foster Swift Business & Tax Law E-blast, December 10, 2020
- How to Think About Succession Planning, Foster Swift Business & Tax Law E-blast, December 9, 2020
- USDA Announces CFAP 2: $14 Billion in Direct Payments to Producers, Foster Swift Agricultural Law News E-blast, September 25, 2020
News & Events
- Round 2: Recent Changes to the Payroll Protection Program, Foster Swift, January 26, 2021
- 2020 Year End Tax Planning: Updates and Strategies, Foster Swift, December 9, 2020
- Tax Through an Agribusiness Lens – Part 1, Michigan Association of CPAs (MICPA), June 30, 2020
- The PPP Loan Forgiveness Form is Out: Next Steps to Ensure Forgiveness for your PPP Loan, Foster Swift, May 21, 2020
- Webinar: Planning to Ensure Full Forgiveness for Your PPP Loan, Foster Swift Collins & Smith, PC, May 7, 2020
- Michigan Executive Order 2020-41 Impacts On Notarization, Michigan Business Network, April 20, 2020
- Foster Swift Elects Six Shareholders in 2021, January 13, 2021
- SBA Will Issue Questionnaires to Borrowers of $2 Million or More in PPP Loans, Foster Swift Legal Update E-blast, October 30, 2020
- The Impact of PPP Loans on Mergers & Acquisitions, October 16, 2020
- Recent Questions Regarding PPP Forgiveness Applications, September 23, 2020
- Foster Swift Attorneys Named Best Lawyers® 2021 "Ones to Watch", August 20, 2020
- Business Attorneys Release an Additional Three Legal Basics Videos, October 12, 2015
- Foster Swift Welcomes Five New Associates, December 1, 2014
- Business & Tax
- Business Succession Planning
- Employee Benefits
- Entity Selection, Organization & Planning
- ESOPs (Employee Stock Ownership Plans)
- Estate Planning
- Family Owned Businesses
- Federal Taxation
- International Taxation
- Michigan Tax
- Startup Entrepreneurial Emerging Development (S.E.E.D)
- State and Federal Audits and Tax Disputes
- Tax Law
Michigan State University College of Law, J.D., 2014, summa cum laude
Calvin College, B.A., 2010
Bar and Court Admissions