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Laura E. Morris

Partner | Email

Grand Rapids

t. +1.616.752.2407

f. +1.616.222.2407

Biography

Laura Morris is a trial attorney and mediator who specializes in probate court disputes involving trusts, estates, wills, powers of attorney, guardianships and conservatorships (adults and minors).  Laura also represents clients in adoption matters.  Laura is also passionate about problem solving. Her penchant for dispute resolution drew her to probate litigation and mediation, where she regularly finds herself in the middle of emotional family disagreements. “When representing a client, I try to put myself in my client’s shoes and move forward in a way that will result in the best outcome as efficiently as possible, while keeping in mind that family and emotions are involved. Maybe that’s a day in court or maybe that’s a settlement,” she says.

Industries

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Education

  • Wayne State University J.D. 2006 cum laude
  • Michigan State University B.A. 2003    

Admitted

  • 2006, Michigan

Courts

  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan in 2006
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan in 2011

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Probate & Estate Planning Section
    Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association

Honors & Awards

  • Named as a “Rising Star” for Estate & Trust Litigation by Michigan Super Lawyers Magazine, 2013-Present
  • Graduated with Honors—Michigan State University (member, Varsity Women’s Soccer team)
  • Graduated with Honors—Wayne State University Law School
  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Moot Court—Wayne State University Law School
  • Legal Intern for the Honorable Avern Cohn, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Experience

Approved Civil Mediator:
  • 2014:  40-hour training approved by State Court Administration Office
  • 2016:  8-hour Advanced Mediator Training (ADR Section of State Bar of Michigan)
Probate Litigation: Laura has successfully represented clients on a broad array of disputes involving the elderly and inheritances, including:
  • Trust disputes
  • Will disputes
  • Power of attorney disputes
  • Life insurance disputes
  • Joint account disputes
  • Sibling disputes
  • Blended family disputes
  • Guardianship disputes
  • Conservatorship disputes
  • Trust/estate creditor issues
  • Seeking to remove a trustee or executor
  • Getting more information from a trustee or executor
  • Defending a trustee or executor
  • Protecting an elderly person from financial abuse
  • Obtaining judgments against a person who took advantage of elderly person
  • Challenges to a will or trust’s validity
  • Challenges to a property transfer’s validity
  • Forgery issues
  • Claims of mental incapacity (see video)
  • Claims of undue influence (see video)
  • Appointment of guardians (adult and children)
  • Appointment of conservator (adult and children)
  • Seeking to remove a guardian or conservator
  • Modifying an existing guardianship or conservatorship
  • Modifying a trust
  • Obtaining court clarification of a trust’s terms
  • Memorializing a family agreement
Adoption:
  • Stepparent adoptions
  • Direct placement adoptions

Leadership

Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Drafting After In re Jajuga Estate,” ICLE Drafting Estate Planning Documents Seminar (1/19/17)
  • Speaker, “Drafting to Avoid Probate Litigation and Administration Challenges,” ICLE On-Demand Seminar (4/20/16)
  • Speaker, “Fiduciary Litigation Update 2015,” ICLE On-Demand Seminar (12/23/15)
  • Co-Presenter at Midwest Trust & Wealth Management Conference, Trust and Estate Case Law Update (10/6/15)
  • Presentation to Allegan County Council on Aging (Buildling Ties) regarding elder financial abuse (7/30/15)
  • Co-presenter at Grand Rapids Community Foundation on impact of U.S. Supreme Court Obergefell v. Hodges decision on LGBT issues (7/28/15)
  • "Fiduciary Representation: Are the Beneficiaries Your Client?," co-presented with Tina Babel, Strafford Webinar (5/26/15)
  • "Financial Elder Abuse," Aging Well Conference, May 21, 2015, Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Presented 2014 to the West Michigan Estate Planning Council (3/26/15) and Greenleaf Trust (4/1/15)
  • Presented 2013 Trust & Estate Case Law Update to Chemical Bank, Comerica Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Waterway, Wilhelt, Worfel & Bronsink, Legacy Trust, and Huntington National Bank
  • Presented 2012 Trust & Estate Case Law Update to Chemical Bank and Legacy Trust
  • Presented 2011 Trust & Estate Case Law Update to Fifth Third Bank and Waterway, Wilhelt, Worfel & Bronsink
  • Presented 2010 Trust & Estate Case Law Update to Chemical Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Huntington National Bank, Northeastern Michigan Estate Planning Council and Macatawa Bank
  • Presented 2009 Trust & Estate Case Law Update to Chemical Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Founders Bank & Trust and Plante & Moran

Community Involvement

  • West Michigan Spartans:  http://www.westmichiganspartans.org/s/1393/10-clubs/start.aspx?gid=69&pgid=61
    Board Member
    2015 Operations Lead, Steve Smith Charity Golf Challenge at Egypt Valley Country Club
    2013-2014, Co-Operations Lead, Steve Smith Charity Golf Challenge at Egypt Valley Country Club
  • West Michigan Estate Planning Council, Member
  • Council on Aging of Kent County, Member
  • Kent County Elder Abuse Coalition, Member
  • Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Emerging Leaders Series (Class of 2014)
  • Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Inside Grand Rapids (Spring 2012)
  • Inforum – Executive Leader Training (2015)
  • Inforum - A Professional Women's Alliance, Member
  • Family Promise of Grand Rapids, Volunteer
  • West Michigan Healthcare Network, Member

Videos

Undue Influence Claims in Probate Litigation


Mental Incapacity Claims in Probate Litigation



PSA on elder fraud

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