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John Klees

"There is nothing sinister in so arranging one's affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible ... for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands."

Judge Learned Hand

Estate Planning Attorney John Klees

Key Service Areas

  • Agriculture Industry Services
  • Estate Planning and Administration
  • Probate Litigation


Legal Assistant - Chris Myhre

About John

How do you help businesses and individuals?

With over 25 years of experience, I help hard working individuals and families organize their affairs to secure their business and/or nest-egg assets for future generations. Serving a diverse Michigan client base, from Detroit through the Lakeshore, from Niles to the Thumb, and from Monroe to Traverse City, I develop and implement asset protection plans, business succession plans, wills, and advanced estate and gift tax strategies in such a way as to minimize difficulties, taxes and expenses.

What sets you apart from other lawyers in your practice field?

I have devoted my entire career to staying on the cutting edge of the law related to estate planning and administration. This dedication began in law school, when I earned a Masters of Law in Taxation from New York University School of Law, with a focus on estate/gift taxes, in addition to the traditional J.D. degree. From this vantage point, I often see opportunities that others miss. I do not just “dabble” in estate planning (and related areas) — I specialize in it.

What case did you find the most rewarding to work on?

I recently helped a family through the trust administration process after the death of their parents, who were longtime clients of mine. The parents took several steps that I recommended through the years. Unfortunately, there was a $6,000,000 estate tax bill after they died but the family was very happy when I was able to show them how the steps their parents took saved them from owing over $20,000,000 in estate taxes. Helping save those tax dollars for the family, instead of sending them to the IRS, was a really good feeling for me.


New York University School of Law, Ll.M., Taxation

Michigan State University College of Law, J.D., cum laude

University of Kentucky, B.A.

Q: How do any of your community activities facilitate how you represent a client?


As an endurance athlete, I run numerous marathons and races of 50-100 miles. These races remind me that in a journey of 10,000 steps none is more important than the next step you take; that while you need to have a “big picture” eye on your environment and distant horizon for changing conditions, you must never lose sight of the path right in front of you. This is also true in my practice of law. I guide clients along paths best suited for them while avoiding problems and pitfalls they may not even see.


Grand Rapids Bar Association

State Bar of Michigan, Taxation and Probate Planning Sections

West Michigan Estate Planning Council, Member and Director

American Bar Association, Real Property, Probate, Trust Law, and Taxation Sections

Bar Admission


Awards and Recognition

Leading LawyersSM

Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rating

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