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Susan Gell Meyers

Partner | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2184

    f. +1.616.222.2184

  • +1.866.533.3018 - ext. 2184

Biography

Susan Gell Meyers focuses her practice on estate and tax planning for individuals, owners of family and other closely held businesses and professionals. Areas of focus include business succession planning, goals oriented estate planning, shareholder agreements, vacation home planning, and prenuptial agreements. She is former chair of the firm’s Trusts & Estates Practice Group and a member of the firm’s Management Committee.

Industries

Education

  • Indiana University J.D. 1991 cum laude
  • University of Michigan B.A. 1986 with distinction

Admitted

  • 1991, Michigan

Bar Associations

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

Experience

  • Estate and Wealth Transfer Planning. Represents business owners, physicians, dentists and individuals for their estate planning needs, including:
    • tax planning (income, gift and estate) for families of wealth
    • gift and estate tax litigation
    • asset protection
    • planning for large retirement plans or other income taxable assets
    • implementing gift trusts and family limited liability companies to maintain family ownership of heirloom assets
    • developing plans to transfer ownership of family businesses to next generation owners on a tax-advantaged basis using techniques such as GRATs, life insurance trusts, and sales to grantor trusts
    • drafting prenuptial agreements to protect family businesses, heirloom assets and wealth
    • estate tax planning for non-US citizens and resident aliens
  • Vacation Home Planning. Represents individuals and cottage associations to develop agreements and policies establishing rules for transfer, use and maintenance of vacation homes by multiple parties
  • Business Planning. Represents closely held businesses, including medical and dental practices, to determine proper entity selection, formation, ongoing operation and succession planning. Representation includes drafting buy-sell agreements restricting transfers of ownership, establishing rules for sale and purchase of interests, and protecting S corporation elections, as well as drafting employment policies setting forth rules for employment of family members
  • Estate/Trust Administration. Provides a full range of post-death estate settlement and trust administration, including the administration and tax planning for decedents' estates, preparation of estate tax returns, income tax returns and fiduciary accounts, and handling of IRS audits and valuation disputes. Successfully negotiated settlement with IRS on decedents' taxable estates resulting in:
    • 22.5 percent discount for partial interests in real property
    • 20 percent combined discount for marketable securities LLC
    • full estate tax deduction for interest on Graegin notes
    • 35 percent combined discount for marketable securities limited partnership
    • inclusion of only balance owing on promissory note from installment sale of limited partnership interests to grantor trust

Honors & Awards

  • Ranked Band 1, Private Wealth Law – Michigan, Chambers High Net Worth Guide, 2016-17
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2018 and 2016 Grand Rapids Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law Lawyer of the Year
  • Named as one of the Leading "Women in the Law" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2015
  • Named as one of the Top 25 Women Michigan Super Lawyers, 2014
  • Named as one of the Top 50 Women Michigan Super Lawyers, 2007
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, 2006-Present
  • Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates, 2003-Present
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of the leading "Women in the Law," 2015
  • Leading Lawyers Michigan, 2014

News

Leadership

Professional Affiliations

  • Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises
    Conference Planning Chair (2011-14); Board Member (2010-14)
  • Inforum - A Professional Women's Alliance (2005-Present)
  • West Michigan Estate Planning Council

Community Affiliations

  • Blandford Nature Center
    Board of Directors (2015-Present)
    Development Committee (2013-Present)
  • Family Business Alliance of GVSU
    Member (2008-Present)
  • Leadership Grand Rapids
    Class of 2006

Speaking Engagements

  • “Prenuptial Agreements: The Elephant in the Room,” Attorneys for Family-Held Enterprises 2013 Annual Conference, April 26, 2013, Chicago
  • Lecturer: Estate Planning and Probate Matters for Institute of Continuing Legal Education courses and other organizations
  • Frequent speaker on estate planning topics for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation

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