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Trusts & Estates

Our attorneys translate complex trust and estate laws, letting our clients and their families focus on what's most important.

Clients and advisors seek our forward-thinking approach to trusts and estates to achieve their goals and avoid angst during times of vulnerability because of lack of planning. Our attorneys are well-versed in all areas of tax, estates and trusts and provide comprehensive plans for clients to meet their objectives and maximize wealth transfer for simple and complex trust or estate arrangements.

Comprehensive Approach

Our services encompass traditional estate planning, and estate and trust administration, which includes all related aspects of estate, gift and income tax, trust construction and related litigation. Representing our clients often involves coordinating enterprise activities and ownership with estate and financial planning for owners and management. We use our business acumen as a full-service corporate law firm and our problem-solving to design a plan that meets our client's objectives.

Our attitude to estate planning includes a thorough review of each client's lifetime and testamentary planning needs. Clients appreciate our understanding of family dynamics as well as our sensitivity during emotionally charged times. By applying common sense solutions, our attorneys instill confidence that our goal is to protect our clients' wealth.

Waller is the only law firm in Tennessee with a Band 1 ranking. Our team includes three Fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, three Chambers High Net Worth "Leaders in Their Field," Fellows of the American College of Tax Counsel, and members of the American Tax Policy Institute and the American Law Institute.

Probate and Estate Planning

Competent, calm and effective, Waller provides probate services ranging from small estate proceedings to more elaborate taxable and non-taxable proceedings for residents' and nonresidents' estates.

Because of the wide variety of assets clients possess, Waller's estate planning services do not focus solely on wills but take into account all aspects of clients' wealth, including those that pass at death by survivorship, by beneficiary designation or through an existing trust to others. Our estate, gift and income tax planning services include:

  • Facilitating the sale of assets to trusts without the client incurring income
  • Gift or estate taxes
  • Lifetime-gifting programs
  • Marital planning
  • Personal income tax planning
  • Use of charitable split-interest trusts and use of gifts
  • S-corporations
  • LLCs and partnerships, which may result in reduced value for tax transfer purpose

Our attorneys assist clients with life insurance planning, the establishment and administration of revocable and irrevocable trusts, and generation-skipping tax planning. We provide complete post-mortem tax planning, including the preparation of all federal and state fiduciary tax returns, audit and subsequent tax litigation proceedings, and tax planning for beneficiaries.

Probate and Estate Trust Administration

With substantial experience in probate and estate and trust administration, our attorneys often serve as counsel for individual and corporate fiduciaries and may act as personal representatives or trustees in special circumstances. Clients value our focused attention when representing them in connection with IRS and state audits involving estate, gift and income tax controversy matters.


Although we seek to resolve differences expediently, sometimes going to court is the best resolution. Whether displaying our formidable courtroom presence and willingness to do battle or guiding clients through the dispute resolution process, we bring an impressive track record to every dispute.

Waller probate and trust-related litigators represent both corporate fiduciaries and individual fiduciaries and beneficiaries. Matters handled by our probate litigators include:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty actions
  • Guardianship and conservatorship proceedings
  • Rights of the surviving spouse to elect to take against the will
  • Surcharge actions
  • Tax apportionment
  • Undue influence proceedings
  • Will and trust construction proceedings 
  • Will contests

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Richard Johnson
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Mike Yopp
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Aaron Flinn
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