Warren J. Widmayer's Profile Image

Warren J. Widmayer

Phone: (734) 662-0222
Fax: (734) 662-8884

Warren handles estate planning and employee benefits law matters. Following the death of Larry Ferguson, partner and co-founder of the firm, Warren assumed leadership of the firm’s estate planning practice, particularly for estates with potential exposure to federal estate tax. Warren continues to represent numerous retirement plans and retirement plan sponsors in Michigan and other states. He is a past Chair of the Taxation Section of the State Bar of Michigan, past Chair of the Great Lakes Area TE/GE Council (an IRS Employee Plans liaison group), and a frequent author and speaker on employee benefits issues. He has been listed for many years in The Best Lawyers in America for his expertise in Tax Law and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law and was named Best Lawyers' 2012 and 2016 Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law "Lawyer of the Year" for Ann Arbor and Best Lawyers' 2017 Tax Law "Lawyer of the Year" for Ann Arbor.

When not spending time with his wife, Beth, or his three children and grandchildren, Warren pursues a number of other interests, chief of which is his musical training. He is a long-time saxophone student in the jazz combo program at the Community Music School of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor’s non-profit community music school, and plays in a couple of local amateur music groups.

Published Works

  • Qualified Plan Distributions After TRA 1986 (Co-Author Larry Ferguson), Institute of Continuing Legal Education (October, 1987)
  • Advantages for Closely Held Businesses, Target Benefit and 401(k) Plan Combinations, Michigan Tax Lawyer (Third Quarter, 1989)
  • Fringe Benefits (Co-Author, Larry Ferguson), M.A.C.P.A. (September, 1991)
  • Distributions From Retirement Plans, State Bar of Michigan Joint Meeting of Estate Planning and Qualified Plan Committees, Section of Taxation (October, 1991)
  • ERISA 404(c) Plans: Separating Illusion From Reality, State Bar of Michigan, Tax Section Employee Benefits Committee (May, 1994)
  • Estate Planning Issues for Qualified Retirement Plan Benefits, Joint Meeting of the State Bar of Michigan, Tax Section Employee Benefits and Estate Planning Committees (April, 1998)
  • Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans, State Bar of Michigan Tax Section, Employee Benefits Committee (March, 1999)
  • Required Retirement Distributions Made Simple, Michigan Bar Journal, Vol. 80: No. 6 (June, 2001)
  • 'Comparability' Cash Balance: New Life for Small Business Defined Benefit Plans, Michigan Tax Lawyer, Vol XXXI, Issue 3 (Fall, 2005)
  • ESOPs In Trouble," Great Lakes Area TE/GE Council (June, 2009)

Honors and Awards

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Rated
  • AVVO.com "Superb" Rating
  • Selected by peers: Employee Benefits Law, 1999-2017, Tax Law 2013-2017, The Best Lawyers of America
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, Employee Benefits Law, 2003-2017

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • American Bar Association
    Labor and Employment Law Section
    Taxation Section
  • State Bar of Michigan
    Probate and Estate Planning Section
    Labor and Employment Law Section
    Chair, Employee Benefits Committee, Taxation Section, 2004-2005

    Member, Taxation Section Council, 2005-2013
    Chair, Taxation Section Council, 2011-2012
  • National Center for Employee Ownership
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans
  • Board of Directors, Washtenaw County Estate Planning Council, 1986-1987
  • Washtenaw County Bar Association
    Tax Law Section (Chair, 1991-1993)
    Labor and Employment Law Section
    Probate and Estate Planning Section
  • Great Lakes Area TE/GE Council, 2006 - Present
    Chair, 2011-2012
  • Community Music School of Ann Arbor
    Board of Directors, 2006-2015
    Chair, Board of Directors, 2009-2013
  • Chelsea Community Foundation Committee, 2006 - Present
  • Michigan Chapter Executive Committee, ESOP Association, 2012 - Present

Areas of Practice

  • Trust and Estate Planning
  • Taxation of Estates and Trusts
  • Estate Settlement and Probate
  • Employee Benefits
  • ERISA
  • Retirement Plans
  • Health and Welfare Plans
  • Executive Compensation
  • Participant Benefit Claims
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)
  • Taft-Hartley Fringe Benefit Funds

Bar Admissions

  • Michigan, 1983
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 1983
  • U.S. Federal Courts, 1984
  • U.S. Tax Court, 1986

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    J.D., 1982
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
    B.A., with high distinction, 1978