Board of Trustees
Charles Janssen, Vice-Chair
Charley graduated from the Michigan State University Honors College, Phi Beta Kappa in 1976. After receiving his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in 1979, he immediately joined Foster Swift. Charley’s legal practice covers the entire spectrum of estate planning; wills, trusts, wealth management, family business planning, charitable gift planning and estate and trust administration.
Known for his ability to simplify the most complex of estate planning strategies into plain English, he is always willing to speak on estate planning, charitable gifting and business planning issues to interested groups and businesses. Additionally, he has authored numerous articles on estate planning and charitable giving topics, and is a contributing editor to a number of Institute for Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) books and publications including Revocable Living Trusts in Michigan.
Charley’s legal talents have long been recognized by his peers. Top estate planning attorneys from around the country nominated and elected him to the prestigious American College of Trust and Estate Attorneys in 1995. Fellow attorneys have also ranked him as a top Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney in Best Lawyers in America since 1993 and he has been recognized as a Michigan Super Lawyer in those same areas of practice since the survey’s inception in 2005.
In addition to his practice, Charley has held numerous leadership roles in the firm, including chairing the Business and Tax Department, heading up the attorney recruitment committee, sitting on the firms Executive Committee and serving as President of the Law Firm (2003–2005). He has also chaired the Ingham County Bar Probate and Estate Planning Section and the Greater Lansing Estate Planning Council.
Charley enjoys giving his time and expertise to many mid-Michigan civic and charitable boards and activities. Currently, he sits on the Board of Trustees for Michigan State University College of Law, is a commissioner for Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority and is the treasurer for the Lansing Christian School Foundation. In the past, he has served as chairperson or board member of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee, Lansing Public Schools Foundation, Lansing Riverfront Development Board, and Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority. Charley also co-chaired the City of Lansing’s Project Play, which helped raise $2 million for new playground equipment for city parks and school playgrounds. Charley remains active in promoting charitable giving through the Capital Region Community Foundation and many other wonderful charities and agencies.