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A Better Partnership

W. Michael Van Haren

Of Counsel | Email

  • Grand Rapids

    t. +1.616.752.2125

    f. +1.616.752.2500

  • +1.866.533.3018 - ext. 2125


Mike Van Haren concentrates his practice on all aspects of planning for high net worth individuals, the family offices that serve those individuals and the businesses they own. Gift, estate and sophisticated tax planning, family business succession planning, charitable and foundation planning and the special needs of family offices are the focus of Mike's practice.


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  • University of Detroit J.D. 1975 magna cum laude
  • University of Michigan B.S. 1970
  • Aquinas College


  • 1975, Michigan

Bar Associations

  • American Bar Association
    Real Property, Trust & Estate Law Section
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Probate and Estate Planning Council, Past Chair (1991-92)
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
    Strategic Planning Task Force (2000)

Teaching and Lecturing

  • Adjunct Professor, Grand Valley State University, Master of Taxation Program, 1983-85
  • Lecturer for Estate Planning, Probate and Tax Matters for Institute of Continuing Legal Education and other organizations


  • Represents multiple families that have family offices to assist family with planning, investments and other services
  • Advise members of numerous family businesses who are transitioning ownership to the next generation
  • Key planner for transition of multi-national family held business from fourth to fifth generation
  • Organized dozens of family limited partnerships and family limited liability companies
  • Tax adviser for the Firm's litigation team with respect to the Family Limited Partnership Gift Tax Valuation Case, Lappo v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2003-258
  • Established and represents multiple private foundations

Honors & Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America, Nonprofit/Charities Law and Trusts and Estates, 1987-Present
  • Named a Top Lawyer in Nonprofit/Charities Law and Trusts and Estates, Grand Rapids Magazine, 2019-20
  • Named 2011 Grand Rapids Best Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in America
  • Named a Super Lawyer in the 2006-2016, 2018-19 editions of Michigan Super Lawyers
  • Private Wealth Law – Michigan, Chambers High Net Worth Guide, 2017-Present
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Leading Lawyers Michigan, 2014
  • Named Top 100 Michigan Super Lawyers 2006
  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Fellow, Michigan State Bar Foundation
  • Vice Chairperson of the Firm's Management Committee 2006-2009
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Urban Law
  • First in law school class



  • Coeditor, "Probate Practice in Decedent's Estates," Michigan Basic Practice Handbook, ICLE, 1985 Revision
  • "Defending the Estate Against Claims," Michigan Probate Review, Vol. 1, Number 3, February 1982


Professional Affiliations

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
    Fellow (1986-Present); Family Dynamics Subcommittee (2011-17); State Law Coordinator (1997-01); Business Planning Committee (1996-02 and 2005-17)
  • West Michigan Estate Planning Council
    Board of Trustees (1986-89); Member (1984-20)
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Probate and Estate Planning Council, Past Chair (1991-92)
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
    Strategic Planning Task Force (2000)

Community Affiliations

  • Grand Rapids Symphony Foundation
    Secretary (2018-Present); Trustee (2016-Present)
  • Porter Hills Foundation
    Board Member (Sept. 2013-16)
  • Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra Endowment Fund
    Trustee (2013-16)
  • West Michigan Environmental Leadership Network
    Member (2010-Present)
  • Foundation for Catholic Secondary Education
    Board of Directors (2013-18)
  • Catholic Social Services
    Board Chair (2002); Board of Trustees (1996-02)
  • Franciscan Life Process Center
    Advisory Board, Child Development Center (1989-99)
  • Goodwill Industries of Grand Rapids Foundation
    Board of Trustees, Treasurer (2012-20), Member (2002-20)
  • Grand Rapids Community Foundation
    Professional Advisory Committee (1997-20), Emeritus Member (2020-Present)
  • Leave a Legacy West Michigan
    Steering Committee (1999-00)
  • Rotary Club of Grand Rapids
  • The Wege Foundation
    Board of Trustees (1996-18)


“He’s very good at large, complex issues – he sees the big picture and sees the technical issue that must be solved. He presents a plan and an idea based on what the client information is and what their needs and concerns are. He lays it out very well and his communication style works very well with clients.”
“He’s very, very astute on the tax code and particularly on the charitable side of things. He’s very generous with sharing that information.”
“He’s really good at finding and looking at the consequences of your planning and making sure there aren’t any unintended consequences further down the generations. If I had a really thorny issue, I would recommend Michael as I’ve been through some really thorny issues with him, and I have a good comfort level with his thought process.”

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