Our People

Biography

Nick is an attorney who serves clients, families and businesses throughout Michigan. He is Chair of Smith Haughey's Trusts & Estates Group and the firm's Agricultural and Agribusiness Industry Team. His practice focuses on business, tax and estate planning to help his clients protect, grow and smoothly transition their wealth and businesses to future generations.

For business clients, Nick leans on his extensive business leadership training and experience to counsel on the specialized legal, business and emotional issues of succession, exit and continuity planning to help business owners effectively transition out of their businesses. He resolves real property issues; drafts corporate documents such as buy-sell agreements, contracts, leases, and other legal documents; and advises on entity formation. His clients include startups, small to mid-size businesses, family-owned businesses, farms, and agribusinesses.  

Nick helps individuals, couples, and families plan for end of life decisions; pass wealth to younger generations; and establish charitable giving. He drafts estate plans that include wills, trusts, guardianships, durable powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney and patient advocate designations, special needs trusts, and other related documents such as charitable trusts, grantor retained trusts, intentionally defective trusts and qualified trusts. In addition, Nick has successfully tried and settled cases for dozens of clients in probate court, including trust disputes and trust reformation, guardianships, conservatorships and contested estate proceedings.

While earning his law degree, Nick also earned a Master’s of Business Administration through a joint degree program between Michigan State University College of Law and Grand Valley State University. He has studied in Tokyo, Japan, and Innsbruck, Austria. Nick has served as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University, where he has taught entrepreneurship classes on business plan development, management and marketing, as well as finance and accounting. Nick is a volunteer instructor and advisor for Hope College’s Center for Faithful Leadership and Hope’s Entrepreneurship Initiative where he has taught Entrepreneurial Leadership and encourages students to practice business as mission.

Nick is active in the community, serving as President of the Board of Directors of the Outdoor Discovery Center – Macatawa Greenway; Greater Deacon and Past Treasurer for Haven Reformed Church in Hamilton, Michigan; Trustee of the Porter Hills Foundation; Member of the Professional Advisory Committee for Grand Rapids Community Foundation; and Past Director for Youth For Christ of Ottawa and Allegan Counties. He coaches youth basketball, soccer and little league, and is a past member of Holland Young Professionals. He has been a speaker for the Michigan Small Business Technology & Development Center, is a frequent advisor for the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce Small Business Tour, and has been a featured guest in a broadcast with SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives).


Experience

Previous Experience

Adjunct Faculty – Grand Valley State University

Volunteer Advisor – Hope College Center for Faithful Leadership

Affiliations

  • Allegan County Bar Association – President, 2010-2011; Vice President, 2009-2010; Secretary/Treasurer, 2008-2009
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Section on Business & Taxation
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association, Steering Committee for the Section on Probate & Estate Planning
  • State Bar of Michigan, Food Law Committee and Program Committee Member for the Section on Agricultural Law Section
  • State Bar of Michigan, Section on Business Law, Taxation
  • State Bar of Michigan, Council Membership Committee Chair for the Probate & Estate Planning Section
  • West Michigan Estate Planning Council, Member
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Michigan
  • President, Outdoor Discovery Center Macatawa Greenway
  • Trustee, Porter Hills Foundation
  • Member, Professional Advisory Committee, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
  • Deacon and Past Treasurer, Haven Reformed Churc
  • Past Member, Love INC of NW Allegan County Structure Task Force
  • Past Board of Directors, Youth for Christ of Ottawa and Allegan Counties

Education

  • Hope College (B.A., 2002)  
  • Grand Valley State University (M.B.A., 2005)  
  • Michigan State University College of Law (J.D., 2005), Corporate Law Concentration

Admitted

  • State Bar of Michigan, 2006
  • U.S. District Court – Western District of Michigan, 2007

Accolades

  • Selected as an "Up and Coming Lawyer" by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, 2014

  • Listed as a "Rising Star" in Michigan Super Lawyers (2013-2016) – Estate Planning & Probate

  • Listed in Best Lawyers (2016-2017) - Business Organization (including LLCs and Partnerships) 

  • Has been featured in articles published in numerous publications and media outlets including the Michigan Probate and Estate Planning Journal, FoxBusiness.com, Michigan Lawyers Weekly, TheStreet.com, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, MiBiz, and the Grand Rapids Business Journal

News and Publications

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