Probate & Estate Planning


by Mark E. Kellogg   |   Michigan Bar Journal


I am honored and humbled to serve as current chair of the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. The practice area-specific articles of this issue of the Michigan Bar Journal are provided under the guidance of the Probate and Estate Planning Section. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to present a brief overview of our section.

Serving with me as officers of the section for the current Bar year are Chair Elect James P. Spica; Vice Chair Katie Lynwood; Secretary Nathan R. Piwowarski; and Treasurer Richard C. Mills. I also want to thank the section members serving on the Probate and Estate Planning Section Council and the various additional committee members responsible for making the section one of the State Bar of Michigan’s most active and productive.

The stated purpose of the Probate and Estate Planning Section is enhancing and improving the practice and administration of law pertaining to probate; trust and estate planning and administration; guardianships and conservatorships (including planning alternatives); and tax planning. The section is one of the largest SBM sections with nearly 3,500 members. That number reflects the significance of the various practice areas represented by the section and the needs of the public as it relates to the services our members provide and the quality of benefits and resources made available to our members through the section’s activities.

  • The authors of the well-written articles in this issue of the Michigan Bar Journal discuss the following subjects:
  • The proposed new Uniform Power of Attorney Act;
  • The evolution of and current trends in estate planning;
  • Surviving spouse property protection;
  • A primer on proposed additions to the Federal SECURE Act; and
  • The Probate and Estate Planning Section’s EPIC Omnibus legislation.

The scope and subject matter of these articles will potentially have an impact on — and should be of interest to — all attorneys.

The section’s members represent an array of practice specialties as evidenced by its 14 standing committees and 10 ad hoc committees. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved with the section. Active participants and contributors are frequently involved in drafting and introducing potential future laws affecting practice areas associated with probate and estate planning.

The section council meets monthly on a Friday morning at the University Club in East Lansing during the current Bar year. Members may also attend via Zoom by registering online at connect.michbar. org/probate/events/schedule prior to the meeting. Council meetings are open to all section members.

I would also like to mention a vital participant in helping us fulfill the section’s mission. The Institute for Continuing Legal Education provides invaluable assistance in planning and organizing the annual Probate and Estate Planning Institute and other programs that we are able to provide as a resource to our members.

If you have never attended the Probate and Estate Planning Institute, I strongly encourage you to try to attend this year. The Institute always provides valuable and timely information on many topics and opportunities for networking with fellow members. The dates for this year’s Probate and Estate Planning Institute are May 18-20 at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa in Acme and June 15-16 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth.

If you would like to discuss the section’s work or consider becoming involved (or increasing your personal involvement) in the section, contact me at mkellogg@fraserlawfirm.com or (517) 377-0890. I look forward to seeing you at various section events throughout the year.