Richard Johnson helps large family-owned and closely held businesses, family office, high-net-worth individuals, including their private family trust companies, and tax-exempt organizations with practical tax, business, and estate and trust planning solutions.

Clients appreciate his understanding of family dynamics – and the unique challenges families encounter – and have confidence in his ability to protect their wealth by applying common sense solutions.

Clients benefit from Mr. Johnson's vast experience with S-corporations, limited liability corporations (LLCs), private trust companies and partnership law that, when combined with strategic tax planning, helps minimize corporate and personal tax liabilities on both the state and federal levels.

Mr. Johnson organizes and advises private family trust companies in Nashville, Tennessee. He formed the first private family trust company under Tennessee law and has been responsible for forming more than half of Tennessee's private family trust companies. He helped draft new legislation updating Tennessee's private trust company law, which greatly expanded the definition of a private family trust company to make Tennessee's private trust company statutes more attractive than those in other states. The updated law now provides the family with the option to allow the family's business to own the private trust company as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Mr. Johnson works with wealthy individuals, families and their family offices to structure their assets and ownership interests to keep wealth in the family and to foster the use of that wealth to perpetuate the family's values and purposes.

He does so by protecting and retaining wealth through sophisticated strategic planning related to:

  • estate taxes
  • generation-skipping transfer taxes
  • gifting
  • income taxes
  • trusts

Owners of large, closely-held companies in a broad range of industries also seek Mr. Johnson's advice on entity restructuring and transition plans, including management team succession, to fulfill long-range goals and help ensure the smooth transition of ownership and operation from one generation to the next.

A trusted advisor to 501(c)(3) and other tax-exempt entities, Mr. Johnson helps them structure fundraising activities to avoid unrelated business taxable income, create agreements between tax-exempt and for-profit entities and address governance issues related to nonprofit founders.


  • University of Florida, LL.M., Taxation
  • University of Tennessee, J.D., with honors
  • University of Mississippi, B.A., Accounting, cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Florida
  • Tennessee
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • U.S. Tax Court
  • Family Office Exchange
  • Thought Leaders Council
  • Nashville Bar Association, Tax Section Committee, Former Chairman
  • Tennessee Bar Association, Former Treasurer; Tax Section, Former Chairman
  • Florida Bar Association
  • American Bar Association, Tax Section; Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
  • Nashville Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • ABA Property Tax Handbook, The Tennessee Chapter, Co-Author
  • Nashville Estate Planning Council, Former Director
  • Aquinas College, Board Member
  • Second Harvest Food Bank, Pro Bono Legal Services
Honors & Awards
  • Chambers USA High Net Worth guide, Band 1, USA High Net Worth Guide, 2017-2021
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Tax Law, 2001-2023; Trusts and Estates, 2001-2023
  • The Best Lawyers in America guide, Nashville Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year, 2019
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine, 2006-2022