James P. Spica

Southfield Office

26211 Central Park Blvd

Suite 200

James P. Spica

Rated by Super Lawyers

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Fellow The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

About Jim

Jim is both a practitioner and a scholar. Jim’s client practice focuses on estate planning, including charitable planning, for high net worth clients. In addition, much of his practice is dedicated to representing and advising other professionals and institutions, in Michigan and elsewhere, with respect to complex trust planning and litigation. Among his colleagues, Jim is equally recognized for his accomplishments in developing trust law. Jim has led the charge with respect to many of the most important developments in Michigan, including as the primary author of Michigan’s divided trusteeship laws, Michigan’s rule against perpetuities reform, and Michigan’s trust decanting laws.

Jim’s most recent article, “Two Restatements of Conflict of Laws Concerning Exercises of Special Powers of Appointment,” will be published in the Fall/Winter issue of the current volume of the ABA’s Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal. He also has an article entitled “Another Trap for the Wary: What We Can Learn about the Relation-Back Doctrine from Pennsylvania’s Anti-Delaware-Tax-Trap Statute” forthcoming in the Winter issue of the Wayne Law Review. Meanwhile, Jim’s “Settlor-Authorized Fiduciary Indifference to Trust Purposes and the Interests of Beneficiaries under the Uniform Trust Code” is in the current issue of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal. (The latter article is an extended version of a shorter piece on the same subject that appeared last year in a special issue of the ACTEC Law Journal celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Uniform Trust Code.)

Jim earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, his first law degree from the University of Detroit, and an LL.M. (in Taxation) from New York University. He clerked for Hon. Richard C. Wilbur on the United States Tax Court (1985) and taught as an Assistant/Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy (1989–2000, tenured 1996). Jim practices out of the CT Southfield office.

Professional Recognition and Involvement

  • Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • Best Lawyers in America
    • Trust & Estates, 2009–Present
    • Litigation – Trusts & Estates, 2012–Present
    • The Best Lawyers in America “2019 Detroit Lawyer of the Year – Litigation – Trusts and Estates”
  • Leading Lawyers
    • Charter Member, Leading Lawyers Advisor Board, 2013
    • Trust, Will & Estate Planning Law, 2013–Present
    • Tax Law: Individual, 2018–Present
    • Leading Lawyers “Top 10 Trust, Will & Estate Planning – Michigan Edition 2020”
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, 2010–Present
  • “Top Ranked” Chambers High Net Worth (HNW) Guide 2017–Present
  • Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent rating, the highest possible Peer Review Rating
  • Dbusiness Top Lawyers, 2014–Present
  • National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (Uniform Law Commission)
    • Michigan Commissioner (appointed by the State’s bipartisan Legislative Council), 2016- Present
    • Drafting Committee on Conflict of Laws in Trusts and Estates Act, 2020–Present
    • Drafting Committee on Fundraising through Public Appeals Act, 2018–Present
    • Drafting Committee on Fiduciary Income and Principal Act, 2017–2018
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
    • ABA Advisor, Uniform Law Commission Uniform Directed Trust Drafting Committee, 2014-2016
  • Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan
    • Current Secretary
    • Council Board Member, 2006-2015, 2019Present
    • Uniform Law Commission Liaison, 2017Present
    • Chair, Fiduciary Income and Principal Act Committee,2018–Present
    • Co-Chair, Nonbanking Entity Trust Powers Committee, 2019–Present
    • Special Advisor, Electronic Wills Committee, 2018–Present
    • Chair, Divided and Directed Trusteeship Committee, 2017–2019
    • Chair, Trust Decanting Legislation Committee, 2010–2012
    • Member, Michigan Trust Code Drafting Committee, 2008–2011
  • Michigan Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), Probate and Estate Planning Advisory Board
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow

Community Involvement

  • American Trust for the British Library, Board of Trustees, 2016–Present
  • William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan, Clements Associates Board of Governors,  2009–Present
  • Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Legal/Financial Network Advisory Committee, 2007–Present
  • Detroit Institute of Arts, Tannahill Council, 2008–Present
  • Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Planned Giving Council, 2015–Present
  • Interlochen Center for the Arts
    • Trustee Emeritus, 2015–Present
    • Board of Trustees, 2006–2015

Selected Publications

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