David L.J.M. Skidmore

Top rated estate & trust litigation attorney in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP
David L.J.M. Skidmore
Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

Practice Areas: Estate & trust litigation, Estate planning & probate; view more

Licensed in Michigan since: 1998

Education: The University of Michigan Law School

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2022 Selected to Rising Stars: 2008

Warner Norcross + Judd LLP

150 Ottawa Ave NW
Suite 1500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2487 Visit website


A premier trial attorney and mediator, focusing on probate, trust, estate, fiduciary and real property disputes and litigation, David Skidmore uses creative and strategic thinking to forge lasting solutions to complex and emotional probate problems. Clients range from individual or charitable beneficiaries of estates or trusts; to individual lay persons serving as fiduciaries, who without legal advice may not fully understand their legal obligations under the complex body of governing law; to professional fiduciaries.

So far, David has litigated in more than half of Michigan’s 83 counties. This geographical experience matters, given the variance in practices between the probate courts in different counties.

Aggressive when he needs to be, he also understands—and meets—his clients’ needs for empathy and emotional support. He thrives on complexity, both factual and legal, and uses all discovery tools available to him to unearth what has really happened.

Practice areas

Estate & trust litigation, Estate planning & probate

Focus areas

Will contests, Estate planning, Guardianships & conservatorships, Probate & estate administration, Trusts

  • 80% Estate & trust litigation
  • 20% Estate planning & probate

First Admitted: 1998, Michigan

Professional Webpage: http://www.wnj.com/Professionals/Attorneys/David-L-Skidmore

Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Western Michigan Estate Planning Council, Director, 2013-2016
  • State Bar of Michigan, Member, Probate and Estate Planning Council, 2012-Present
  • State Bar of Michigan, Chair, Amicus Curiae Committee
  • State Bar of Michigan, Character & Fitness Committee, 2005-2007
  • Grand Rapids Bar Association
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Member, Fiduciary Litigation Committee
  • Kent County Circuit Court, Qualified Civil Mediator
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, 1999
  • Michigan, 1998
  • State Bar of Michigan, Member, Real Property Law Section
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow, 2013-Present
  • Kent County Circuit Court, Case Evaluator
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 1998
  • American Bar Association, Member, Probate and Fiduciary Litigation Committee
  • State Bar of Michigan, Character & Fitness Committee, 2011-2014
  • Michigan Bankers Association Trust Counsel Committee, Member, 2015-Present
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • Disability Planning: Where Do Conservators and Guardians Fit In?, 12/22/2016
  • There Is No Such Thing as "The Attorney for the Trust", 12/1/2014
  • “Observations on Undue Influence,” Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal (Vol. 36, No. 1), Winter 2016
  • 15 Years of MCL 700.2503 and "Writings Intended as Wills", 6/1/2015
  • Moderator, “View from the Probate Court Bench” (ICLE On-Demand Seminar), January 4, 2017
  • Post-EPIC Case Law Evaluating The Reasonableness Of Fiduciary Fees, 6/1/2014
  • “Discovery in Probate Court Litigation,” Michigan Bar Journal (Vol. 93, No. 5), May 2014
  • Seeking Divorce During A Spouse's Disability, 4/1/2014
  • Putting Adult Children on Bank Accounts is Risky, 4/9/2014
  • "Intestacy and Determination of Heirs," Michigan Probate Litigation: A Guide to Contested Matters, 2nd Edition, September 2013
  • Whose Privilege Is It, Anyway? the Fiduciary Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege, 9/1/2013
  • “Michigan Rule of Evidence 803(3) and Decedent’s Statements of Then-Existing Intent,” Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal (Vol. 33, No. 1), Winter 2013
  • Giving Effect To Every Word: An Impossible Task For An Ambiguous Legal Instrument, 6/1/2013
  • “Show Me the Money! The Intricacies of Joint Bank Account Litigation in Michigan” (co-authored with Laura E. Morris), The Litigation Newsletter (SBM Litigation Section), Summer 2013
  • Supreme Court Rules on Patented Seed Case, 5/15/2013
  • Estate Planning Focus - Summer 2007, 6/19/2007
  • Estate Planning Focus - Spring 2010, 5/10/2010
  • Estate Planning Focus - Fall 2006, 10/20/2006
  • Wills & Trusts Litigation: 3 New Cases in a Nutshell, 4/20/2011
  • "15 Pointers, Practice Tips, and Reminders Regarding Easements: Highlights of 2010 Michigan Appellate Decisions," Michigan Real Property Review (Vol. 38, No. 2), Summer 2011
  • What Businesses Should Know About -- Identity Theft, 2/19/2005
  • Michigan Law & Practice Encyclopedia, 1/1/2004
  • "Wills and Estate Administration," Michigan Law and Practice Encyclopedia, Vol. 34, 2nd Ed., 2004
  • Loath To Supplement the Language: 2010 Michigan Appellate Decisions Concerning Extrinsic Evidence of Testator’s or Settlor’s Intent, 12/1/2011
  • Admissibility of Extrinsic Evidence in Will and Trust Proceedings, 12/1/2012
  • "Legal and Ethical Issues Raised by an Attorney Acquiring a Lien or Mortgage Against A Client's Real Property," Michigan Real Property Review, Fall 2012/Winter 2013
  • “Before the Party’s Over: The Arguments For and Against Pre-Death Will Contests” (co-authored with Laura E. Morris), Probate & Property (Vol. 27, No. 2), March/April 2013
  • Estate Planning Focus - Fall 2003,
  • Serving as an Amateur Fiduciary is Risky – Legally and Financially, 11/5/2015
  • The Probate Exception to Federal Diversity Jurisdiction, 4/1/2016
  • "Property Ownership," Michigan Estate Planning Handbook, 3rd Edition, June 2016
  • Finish Your Estate Plan: Ensuring Consistency with Your Property Ownership and Your Plan, 7/21/2016
  • Not All Mental Capacity is Created Equal, 11/16/2016
  • Agents Beware: Risks of Serving as a Power of Attorney, 11/16/2016
  • Halting Elder Abuse: Know Your Options, 11/16/2016
  • Named by Michigan Super Lawyers magazine as Rising Star, 2008
  • Named as Clarence Darrow Scholar, University of Michigan Law School, 1995
  • Ranked Band 1, Private Wealth Law, Michigan, Chambers High Net Worth Guide, 2016
  • Best Lawyers in America, Litigation-Trusts & Estates, 2015-Present
  • Received Rockwell T. Gust Oral Advocacy Award, University of Michigan Law School, 1998
  • AV Preeminent Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named to Michigan Super Lawyers, 2013-Present
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Michigan State University, 1992
  • Named the Best Lawyers’ Grand Rapids Litigation - Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year, 2016
Educational Background:
  • Michigan State University, B.A., High Honors, 1992
  • Cannon Trust School, 2010
Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Member, Widowed Persons Service Board of Directors, 2011-2014
  • Broadway Grand Rapids, Member, Board of Directors, 2013-Present
  • Widowed Persons Service Board of Directors, Chairperson, 2013-2014
  • Central High School, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Mock Trial Team, 2006-2007
  • Central High School, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Volunteer Coach
  • Widowed Persons Service Board of Directors, Secretary, 2012
  • Leadership Grand Rapids Class of 2010
  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Board of Directors, Cast Member, Peter Pan, 2010
  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Board of Directors, Member, 2006-2008
  • Widowed Persons Service Board of Directors, Member, 2011-Present
  • Hillman Advocacy Program, Member, Steering Committee, 2010-2013
  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Vice President, 2007-2008
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • Member, Leadership Grand Rapids Class of 2010
Industry Groups:
  • Banking
  • Fiduciary Services

Office location for David L.J.M. Skidmore

150 Ottawa Ave NW
Suite 1500
Grand Rapids, MI 49503-2487

Phone: 888-615-0492


10 Years Super Lawyers
1 Year Rising Stars
  • Super Lawyers: 2013 - 2022
  • Rising Stars: 2008

Top lists

Top 50: Michigan Consumer Super Lawyers: 2018

Certificates and credentials

Attorney resources for David L.J.M. Skidmore

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