Michael J. Willis J.D., C.P.A.

Email MeMichael J. Willis J.D., C.P.A.

Co-Founder
Managing Partner
Location:
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Phone:
888-483-4390
269-743-1978
800-424-5048
888-635-3824
800-556-7018
269-743-1317
Fax:
269-492-1042
Email:
  • Listed in the BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA
  • Listed in SUPER LAWYERS
  • Listed in LEADERS IN THE LAW
  • AV RATED by Martindale

Michael Willis founded this firm with his brother, Shaun Patrick Willis.  Their father, Hon. Frank D. Willis, is the Chief Judge for Van Buren County, and Michael proudly carries on the family by focusing his practice in business and corporate law, estate planning, probate and estate and trust administration, and estate litigation.  

Michael is registered as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Illinois, and is licensed to practice law in both Florida and Michigan.  Michael received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.  He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.  Before forming Willis Law, Michael worked for Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett LLP and Kerr, Russell, Weber, PLC.

Awards and Honors

  • Michael is listed in the Best Lawyers in America.
  • Michael is listed in the Leaders in the Law
  • Michael is listed in Super Lawyers
  • Michael is rated as an AV® Preeminent™ attorney by Martindale-Hubbell's Peer Review Rating.  This rating, according to Martindale, which has been rating lawyers for over a century, signifies that a lawyer has reached the heights of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skills and integrity.
  • In 2007, he was selected by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of Michigan's Up and Coming Lawyers, an award presented to only 6 of 40,000 attorneys in Michigan.
  • In 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012 he was selected as a Rising Star by Michigan Super Lawyers.
  • In 2013 & 2014, he was selected as a Michigan Super Lawyer
  • In 2008 & 2014, he was listed in Marquis "Who's Who in American Law".
  • In 2009, he was selected by the Florida Bar as the President's recipient of the Pro Bono Service Award for the Out of State (49 states) Judicial Circuit.
  • Also in 2009, Willis Law, was honored by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as a 21st Century Innovator for its value-based employee compensation system.

He belongs to the Michigan and Florida Bars; the Michigan Bar, the Kalamazoo County Bar Association and the Christian Legal Society.

Michael's wife, Susan, and their children, Isabella, Christian, Mary, Michael Joseph, Therese, and Gabriella, are the lights of his life.

Willis Law, dedicates its practice to God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the founders' fallen brother, Cpl. Christopher Kelly Willis.

Corporate Boards

  • Lake Doster Development Co., Secretary and Treasurer
  • Jack H. Kelly Farms, Inc., President

Non-Profit Boards

  • Holy Cross College, Notre Dame, Indiana
  • Notre Dame Club of Kalamazoo, Committee Chair (former)
  • Cpl. Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation, Co-President
  • Vineyard Outreach Ministries (former)
  • Southwest Michigan Professional Network, Secretary (former)
  • Friends of the Portage Senior Center, Vice-President (former)

Areas of Practice

  • Estate Planning
  • Estate and Trust Litigation
  • Corporate Law
  • Estate Tax Minimization
  • Estate, Trust and Probate Administration
  • Elder Law
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Real Estate Law
  • Lottery Law
  • Lottery Disputes
  • Wills and trusts
  • Probate administration
  • Trust administration
  • Probate litigation and will contests
  • Guardianships and conservatorships
  • Elder law and Medicaid
  • Planning for disabled persons
  • Planning for cash awards

Certified Legal Specialties

  • Certified Public Accountant

Bar Admissions

  • Florida
  • Michigan

Education

  • The University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    • J.D.
  • University of Notre Dame
    • B.A. magna cum laude

Published Works

  • Single-Member LLCs v The Member's Judgment Creditor: How Strong is the Shield?" The Michigan Business Law Journal, Vol. 29, 1, Spring, 2009
  • "Estate Tax and Gift Tax Law Changes for 2009 – What You Need to Know," Builder/Architect,, Vol. 19, 3, May/June, 2009

Representative Clients

  • Entrepreneurial, Wealth-generating Individuals
  • Life Science Related Corporations and Individuals
  • Technology Firms
  • Professional Service Organizations
  • Development Companies
  • Retail and Wholesale Brokers
  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • CPA's
  • Business Owners

Classes/Seminars

  • Avid Public Presenter, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Probate Administration, Corporate Law and Real Estate, Southwestern Michigan
  • Asset Protection for Life Insurance Agents, Prudential, 2012
  • Asset Protection for Brokers, Morgan Stanley, 2012
  • Asset Protection for Construction Financial Managers, CFMA, 2012
  • Asset Protection & Estate Planning Seminar for Dentists & Other Doctors, Kalamazoo Valley District Dental Society, 2011
  • Estate Planning for Singles and Widows, Kalamazoo, 2010
  • Long Term Care Planning Techniques (Contributor), Kalamazoo, 2010
  • Estate Planning and Tax Control, Kalamazoo, 2010
  • Wills, Trusts and Probate, Douglas Community Center, 2009
  • Your Personal Financial Future: Finding the Keys to Success, MSU Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, 2007
  • Estate Planning and Business Succession Planning and Tax Control, Home Builders Association of Greater Kalamazoo, 2006
  • Estate Planning and Tax Control, Kalamazoo, 2005
  • Life Insurance Trusts and Use of Medicaid Annuities, Kalamazoo, 2004
  • Living Trusts and Estate Tax Issues to Van Buren County Retired School Personnel, Lawton, 2004
  • Living Trusts and Estate Tax Issues to Van Buren County Retired School Personnel, Lawton, 2008
  • Estate Planning Seminar for Senior Services, Inc., Kalamazoo, 2004
  • Probate Avoidance and Estate Tax Minimization to Parchment Rotary, Parchment, 2003
  • Long Term Care Costs (in conjunction with GE Insurance), Portage, 2003
  • International Estate Tax Planning, Kerr, Russell & Weber PLC – Detroit, 2001

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Lake Doster Development Co., Secretary and Treasurer
  • Jack H. Kelly Farms, Inc., President
  • Cpl. Christopher Kelly Willis Foundation, Co-President
  • Notre Dame Club of Kalamazoo, Committee Chair (former)
  • Friends of the Portage Senior Center, Vice-President (former)
  • Southwest Michigan Professional Network, Secretary (former)
  • Florida Bar Association
  • Michigan Bar Association
  • Kalamazoo County Bar Association
  • Christian Legal Society

Past Employment Positions

  • Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett LLP
  • Kerr, Russell, Weber, PLC