Jason E. Havens is a highly experienced business and tax attorney who uses creative problem solving and strategic insight to achieve planning objectives for high-net-worth individuals, families, and charitable organizations. He specializes in complex estate and charitable gift planning (domestic and international), wills and trusts, probate and trust administration, and probate and trust litigation.

Since 2009, The Florida Bar has certified Mr. Havens as a Board Certified Specialist in Wills, Trusts and Estates Law. Since 2010, the Estate Law Specialist Board has certified Mr. Havens as an Estate Planning Law Specialist in Tennessee, as listed on the Roll of Certified Legal Specialists of the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education. He also is a Fellow of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).

Charitable Planning and Organizations. Tax law considerations, finance, and fundraising efforts are critical to the survival of nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations. Mr. Havens is committed to providing charitable planning advice for donors and private clients as well as entities of all types. He has extensive experience in partnership and S corporation matters revolving around the implementation of charitable gift planning for private clients. Mr. Havens also has extensive experience advising exempt organizations on planned giving issues, tax issues, donor advised funds, and asset protection issues, including the use of supporting organizations. He advises donors and exempt organizations on international activities and grants, including multiple charities focused on caring for orphaned children in central Africa.

Complex Estate Planning for High-Net-Worth Clients. The intricate estate planning challenges encountered by many high-net-worth individuals and families require a high level of insight into the evolving state of tax laws, market conditions, and family business situations. As one of only two board certified attorneys in Wills, Trusts and Estates Law in the Destin and Rosemary Beach area, Mr. Havens has used his specialization and sophisticated estate planning advice to build a strong base of affluent clients from throughout the Southeast, including Atlanta, Birmingham, Dallas, Houston, Louisville, Memphis, and Nashville, with whom he works through the Tallahassee office. Mr. Havens has also advised domestic clients with international holdings as well as international clients who need business entities, trusts, or a combination of structures to achieve their planning objectives.

Trust and Estate Administration and Litigation. Mr. Havens advises fiduciaries and exempt organizations in administering trusts and estates being probated, which generally is the implementation phase of the planning described above. He also has utilized Florida’s judicial trust reformation provisions to modify numerous irrevocable trusts, including charitable trusts, due to changes in circumstances or tax laws. Mr. Havens has represented fiduciaries and, in limited circumstances, beneficiaries in state and federal courts, including coordination and leadership of internal and external counsel and other professionals to defend against or pursue litigation of complex tax and/or trust issues.

Representative Experience

  • Created Type I supporting organizations for multiple clients with closely held business interests
  • Implemented charitable lead trust for a professional athlete to augment funding of a charitable organization
  • Analyzed private equity issues for billionaire clients with donor-advised funds and/or private foundations
  • Structured "zeroed out" estate plans for multiple high- and ultra-high-net-worth clients
  • Prepared gift agreements for charitable contributions to a wide range of organizations, from colleges/universities to healthcare organizations and international organizations
  • Represented multiple donors in IRS examinations involving charitable trusts, substantiation issues and/or formula-based gifts

  • Formed Type I supporting organizations that have facilitated more than $10 billion in complex (non-cash) charitable gifts
  • Created private operating foundations for a billionaire client and family office, a real estate developer with substantial art collection and three different clients with architecturally significant homes
  • Assisted a $5 billion private foundation with obtaining foundation reclassification to a Type II supporting organization that funds a multistate healthcare system and with international grantmaking scenarios (including equivalency determinations)
  • Analyzed issues surrounding a joint venture between the largest university system in United States and a federal agency
  • Domesticated or reorganized multiple nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, including relocation of charitable organizations' headquarters from other jurisdictions to Florida or Tennessee
  • Represented large universities and healthcare organizations to analyze endowment issues, modification of restricted gifts and foreign grants

  • Assisted family offices, professional athletes and numerous client families with advanced estate planning, from sophisticated irrevocable trusts to sale transactions to succession issues (including business issues, dynastic trusts and generational dynamics)
  • Created or advised ultra-high-net-worth clients on existing private or "family" trust companies in multiple jurisdictions, including Florida, Tennessee and two international jurisdictions (in conjunction with outside counsel)
  • Drafted and implemented spousal lifetime access trusts (SLATs), often in response to changing federal transfer tax exemptions and related provisions
  • Advised clients on international estate planning, including creation of revocable and irrevocable trusts for a billionaire family with extensive active and passive investment holdings on multiple continents
  • Prepared scores of revocable trusts and last wills for wide range of clients, from serial entrepreneurs to retired executives of multinational corporations to successive generations of ultra-high-net-worth families

  • Represented one of largest domestic banks in complex $60 million trust and estate administration involving trust construction/interpretation proceeding, slayer statute and IRS audit and multimillion-dollar refund proceeding that required approval of U.S. Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation
  • Supervised applications for recognition of tax-exempt status of dozens of trust-form private foundations on behalf of one of largest domestic banks serving as corporate trustee
  • Represented several of country's largest public charities in estate and trust administration matters ranging from Florida homestead issues to unrelated business taxable income matters
  • Represented fiduciaries of hundreds of estates throughout Florida and Tennessee
  • Advised fiduciaries dealing with estate or trust assets in Canada, France, England, Germany, Mexico and Switzerland (in coordination with outside counsel), as well as ancillary estate administration proceedings in Florida on behalf of foreign personal representatives

  • Defended large private banking institutions against claims of a former co-trustee
  • Modified or terminated more than two dozen irrevocable trusts under Florida Trust Code and Tennessee Uniform Trust Code
  • Terminated charitable trusts and private foundations into donor-advised funds or endowment funds, including World War II-era awards organization formed by a well-known industrialist into an Ivy League institution's endowment fund
  • Represented clients in multiple jurisdictions involving state attorneys general and charitable trusts or organizations
  • Assisted with complex intestate proceedings of a well-known e-commerce pioneer


  • Regent University School of Law, LL.M., International Taxation
  • University of Miami School of Law, LL.M., Estate Planning
  • University of Tennessee College of Law, J.D.
  • Lipscomb University, B.A., magna cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Florida
  • Tennessee
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Charitable Planning and Exempt Organizations Committee, Member, 2020-Present
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Tax Policy Study Committee, Member, 2020-Present
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow
  • Chapter 617 Task Force (Corporations Not For Profit Statute), The Florida Bar
  • Charitable Planning and Exempt Organizations Committee, Vice Chair, The Florida Bar, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, 2019-2021
  • Estate Law Specialist Board, Inc. (ELSB), Director, 2012-2022; Secretary/Treasurer, 2013; President, 2014-2015
  • American Bar Association, Conservation Easement Task Force, 2015-2018
  • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Charitable Organizations Committee, Co-Chair, 2011-2015
  • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Charitable Planning Committee, Co-Chair, 2007-2011
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Trust and Estate Practitioner, 2010
  • National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, Accredited Estate Planner (AEP), 2009
  • American Bar Association, Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Editor, "Technology: Probate," Probate & Property, 2004-2018
  • American Bar Association, Section of Taxation, Exempt Organizations Committee, 2006-2018
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2006
  • Estate Planning Council of the Emerald Coast, President, 2004-2005
  • University of Tennessee College of Law Alumni Council, 2015-2021
Honors & Awards
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Nonprofit/Charities Law, 2021-2024
  • Florida Super Lawyers magazine, 2013-2024
  • Tennessee Supreme Court Pro Bono Service Award, Attorney for Justice, 2019, 2020
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2020, 2021
  • Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, 2018
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star, 2017
  • Rising Star, Florida Super Lawyers magazine, 2011-2012
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating


Speaking Engagements