Family businesses pose special estate and legal planning challenge and the Trust and Estate Attorneys at Friday, Eldredge & Clark are skilled at all aspects of business asset and succession planning. We will help you achieve personal and business objectives through effective corporate and tax strategies. Our lawyers have advised founders of many public and private companies on estate planning, business succession planning, financial and liquidity planning. 

Focused on Services

Succession Planning - Our business succession planning helps you as a business owner develop the right strategies to maintain or transfer control of your company as personal needs and requirements dictate. We can help you provide for the future management of your business with the people you choose. When family control spans several generations, or is made more complex by death, incapacity, or divorce and remarriage, we handle succession issues with tact and sensitivity. We can create buy-sell agreements with owners to meet their tax, business succession, and estate planning goals. And, if the eventual disposition of your business is the most practical choice, we guide you to the most tax-efficient strategies for a sale, merger, or liquidation.

Entity Planning - Management of an entity does not just consist of you, your spouse, or children. Every family business needs the right legal and organizational structure. We focus on the best structure that would allow you to grow and be successful. Our lawyers assemble family businesses to take many forms: sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, C corporations, holding companies, and even publicly traded companies under family control. In recommending any entity form, we emphasize flexible operating agreements that allow for future change and growth. Our practical knowledge of financing means that we know how entity forms affect future capital raising and operation. Many of our lawyers have trained in accounting or have post-graduate tax degrees, and we are adept at working with family entities. We also work effectively with your accountants and tax preparers for maximum tax efficiency and wealth preservation.

Benefit Planning - We will also show you how the right compensation and benefit structures can give you, your family, and employees added incentives to grow your company. We can structure tools such as incentive and deferred compensation, cash bonus plans, profit-sharing programs, and supplemental savings plans to provide your business with the means to grow while giving you and your family members added financial and tax benefits. Because we work with so many family businesses of all sizes, we can structure the best approach for you.

Tax Planning - Using the experience and resources we have developed working with a wide range of family businesses, we craft personalized tax and estate planning solutions that maximize financial benefits while minimizing tax liability. For example, we can create a variety of trusts and lifetime gifts to shelter family assets and minimize tax impact, and establish independent asset management arrangements for your convenience. Our wealth planning services can integrate your insurance, tax-deferred compensation, and IRA distributions. And, whether your estate plan involves a simple will or a series of complex trusts, we work with you and your accountants and fiduciaries to make sure all the details of estate and trust administration are handled properly to carry out your wishes with minimum cost and maximum efficiency.

We also represent multiple generations of family business members who want guidance with issues such as:

  • Choice of entity
  • Subchapter S corporations
  • Family limited partnerships and LLCs
  • Tax planning for family businesses
  • Business succession planning and buy-sell agreements
  • Life insurance planning
  • Business valuation issues
  • Business control controversies
  • Business exit strategies

Focused on our Team

Our Trust and Estate Planning attorneys are consistently highly ranked in legal publications.  All of the group's partners are listed in Best Lawyers In America and some have been recognized in recent years as "Lawyer of the Year" for their work in Non-Profit/Charities Law. Additionally, Best Lawyers/U.S. News ranked the group the highest in the state in Non-Profit/Charities Law. Chambers High Net Worth recognized five of the group’s attorneys for their work in Private Wealth Law and six of the group’s attorneys were recognized as Mid-South Super Lawyers

Many of the attorneys in the Trust and Estate Planning practice area are Certified Public Accountants (inactive) and all have Master of Laws in Taxation. Six attorneys have been named as a Fellow by the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. 


W. Thomas Baxter
Trust & Estate Planning


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J. Lee Brown
Trust & Estate Planning


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