Nicholas A. Reister



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, wisdom and values 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 guides clients through 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 has volunteered as an 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, having served as President of the Board of Directors of the ODC Network; Elder, Greater Deacon and Past Treasurer for Haven Reformed Church in Hamilton, Michigan; President of the Western Michigan Estate Planning Council; Trustee of the Porter Hills Foundation; Member of the Professional Advisory Committee for Grand Rapids Community Foundation; member of the Steering Committee of the GRBA’s Probate and Estate Planning Section; and Past Director for Youth For Christ of Ottawa and Allegan Counties. He coaches youth sports, is a youth group leader, and is a past member of Holland Young Professionals. He is a frequent speaker and author sharing his expertise with fellow attorneys and the community.


Adjunct Faculty – Grand Valley State University

Volunteer Advisor – Hope College Center for Faithful Leadership

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State Bar of Michigan, 2006

U.S. District Court – Western District of Michigan, 2007


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


Listed as a “Super Lawyer” in Michigan Super Lawyers (2022) - Estate Planning & Probate

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

Listed as a Michigan Super Lawyers "Rising Star" (2013-2020) – Estate Planning & Probate

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2016-2023) - Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)

Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® (2021-2023) - Closely Held Companies and Family Business Law, Trusts and Estates

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

Listed as Grand Rapids Magazine “Top Lawyer” - Corporate Law, Trusts and Estates (2022)


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

Western Michigan Estate Planning Council, President

U.S. District Court – Western District of Michigan

Past President, ODC Network

Former Trustee, Porter Hills Foundation

Member, Professional Advisory Committee, Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Elder, Greater Deacon and Past Treasurer, Haven Reformed Church

Past Member, Love INC of NW Allegan County Structure Task Force

Past Board of Directors, Youth for Christ of Ottawa and Allegan Counties