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Sean M. Colonna

fax 248.530.9176

Sean M. Colonna advises clients on the best strategies for the management, transfer, and succession of their wealth.  He represents individuals, entrepreneurs, and business owners on estate planning matters, business succession planning, probate, philanthropic gifting, and related tax matters in addition to representing families and fiduciaries in estate and trust administration and litigation.

Sean counsels clients on various sophisticated tax and estate planning matters, including complex gift and transfer tax planning for high net worth individuals through the use of irrevocable trusts, insurance planning, non-profit and philanthropic gifting. He understands the importance of predeath planning and develops estate, tax, and succession planning techniques to fit each clients’ specific needs.

Entrepreneurs and owners of closely held companies seek Sean’s advice on various business matters, including entity formation, buy-sell agreements, licensing, tax, shareholder agreements, promissory notes, and intrafamily transfers of business interests.  To assure the transition of generational businesses, Sean has tailored his practice to align clients’ personal estate planning documents with business succession and management continuity plans for a seamless transfer in the event of death or incapacity.

Sean also commits a portion of his practice representing beneficiaries and fiduciaries in post-death administration of estates and trusts, including real estate transactions, generational wealth distributions, winding up businesses, strategic distribution of retirement accounts for beneficial tax treatment, and the preparation of fiduciary, estate, and gift and generation-skipping tax returns.

Sean’s litigation experience includes representing institutional fiduciaries, professional fiduciaries, families, beneficiaries, and other trustees and personal representatives in contested probate estates, wills, trusts, guardianship, and conservatorship proceedings. He has extensive experience successfully pursuing and defending claims involving undue influence, lack of testamentary capacity, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, joint accounts, trust decanting, reformation and interpretation, fee disputes, quiet title actions and related litigation matters.


J.D., University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Detroit, Michigan, 2013
B.A., Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 2010


Michigan Super Lawyers Rising Star, Estate & Probate (2024)


State Bar of Michigan, Probate and Estate Planning Section

State Bar of Michigan, Tax Section

Oakland County Bar Association, Probate, Estate and Trust Committee

Oakland County Bar Association, Tax Law Committee

American Bar Association, Real Property, Trust & Estate Law

Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metropolitan Detroit

State Bar Licenses


Court Admissions

U.S. District Ct., E.D. of Michigan
  • Prepared complex irrevocable trusts pursuant to divorce decree involving over $200 million in assets.
  • Successfully appealed a Macomb County Probate Court ruling, where in a rare, published opinion from the Michigan Court of Appeals, the appellate court reversed the probate court’s decision to appoint a conservator.
  • Routinely prepares complex estate planning for professionals, including business owners, attorneys, doctors, and those with special needs children.
  • Administered complex trusts with a combined value of assets exceeding $3 billion, which involved unique assets such as charitable pledges, endowment funds, private foundations, intellectual property, crypto currency, valuable art, and jewelry.
  • Successfully terminated guardianship proceedings by arguing the concept of Supported Decision-Making (SDM), a concept not previously recognized under Michigan law.
  • Supported Decision-Making (SDM) Legislation Work Group, work alongside Community Mental Health Association of Michigan to draft proposed amendments to MCL 300.1600, 1602, and 1618.
  • Multiple presentations and seminars to CPA firms, financial advisors, private wealth groups, and other professionals on basics of estate planning, business succession planning, gift and GSTT taxation, and asset protection planning.