Adam prepares wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents that help clients minimize the tax and related costs of transferring wealth to younger generations, and helps devise succession planning strategies to preserve the value of family-owned businesses through multiple generations. Adam also works with trustees and beneficiaries to modify existing trusts to adapt to changing laws and circumstances.  He is a Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning from the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization.

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Adam helps families form private foundations, charitable trusts, and other nonprofit organizations, and provides advice on how to structure charitable gifts to maximize the tax benefits of philanthropic activity. Adam also helps nonprofits in compliance matters, with a particular focus on working within tax rules that limit the ways in which charities can participate in the political process.

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Adam defends clients in IRS and state tax audits, and represents taxpayers in administrative appeals and litigation seeking the refund or abatement of taxes and penalties assessed in audit proceedings. Adam’s previous successes include obtaining favorable settlements or decisions in cases involving conservation easements, cigarette and tobacco taxes, real estate losses, and federal estate tax matters.

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Adam helps clients to understand the complicated federal and state tax laws impacting their businesses, and provides practical advice on how to structure business transactions – including start-ups, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, divisions, and liquidations – in the most tax-efficient way possible.  Adam also prepares legal documents requisite to the formation of new entities, including corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs, and drafts and negotiates key governance documents, such as operating agreements, bylaws, and shareholder or buy-sell agreements. 

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Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in Trusts and Estates (2018)

Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) as a “Rising Star” in Estate and Probate Law (2014-2017)

Recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" in Tax and Estate Planning Law (2014-2017)

Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization 

Graduate, Leadership Greensboro, 2016

Member, Board of Directors, UNC Law Foundation, 2015-present

Member, Board of Directors, United Way of Greater Greensboro, 2017-present

Member, Board of Directors, Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art, 2011-2017

Member, Board of Directors, Ten Thousand Villages of Greensboro, 2012-2014

Volunteer, Greensboro Women's Resource Center Attorney Hotline, 2007-present

Assistant Poetry Editor, StorySouth magazine, 2008-2013

Sumner Elementary School Male Mentor Program, 2008-2010

Panelist, "Creating a Legacy that Lasts: Thoughts on Succession Planning," US Trust event, Greensboro, N.C., June 2017

Public Companies and Private Foundations: Tax Pitfalls For Insider Gifts," Tax Assessments, N.C. Bar Association, February 2013

"New Law Requires Department of Revenue to Adopt 'Rules' on Combined Reporting," Tax Assessments, N.C. Bar Association, September 2012

Presenter, Estate and Charitable Planning Opportunities in the Sale of a Business, UNC Festival of Legal Learning, February 2012

Panelist, Marketing, Financing and Legal Advice for Creative Businesses, Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts Conference, UNC-Greensboro, February 2012

Presenter, "Choosing the Right Entity for Your New Practice," N.C. Bar Association Solo/Small Firm Conference, November 18, 2011

Presenter, "Charitable Giving Structures," Watauga County Community Foundation, September 23, 2011

"The Evolving Estate, Gift, and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax System," Society of Financial Services Professionals, January 18, 2011

Seminar, "Legal Developments Affecting Green Building: From Cap-and-Trade to Stimulus Grants," Commercial Real Estate Sustainable Forum (Greensboro, 2010)

Co-author, Stock Purchase Agreement Form, N.C. Bar Association Business Law Section's Forms Project, 2009

In Search of the Welcome Mat: The Scope of Statutory Federal Question Jurisdiction After Grable & Sons Metal Products v. Darue Engineering & Manufacturing, 84 N.C. L. Rev. 1394, 2006

An Eastern North Carolina native, I grew up in Wilson, but finished high school in Durham, where I graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Math. My first career goal was to be a famous poet (an oxymoron), and I studied creative writing in the Master of Fine Arts program at UNC-Greensboro before law school.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, traveling, and spending time with my wife (Melissa), my two boys (Grady and John Harper), and the menagerie of dogs and cats we’ve rescued.

The subjects I deal with every day – death, taxes, corporate structure – are foreign and frightening to most people. I try to serve as an interpreter and a guide, helping people understand the laws that affect their lives, so they can make informed decisions about their businesses and their families.

Recent Publications & Media

Speaking Engagements

July 25, 2017

Adam Tarleton Speaks On Succession Planning at US Trust Event

Adam Tarleton, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, recently participated in a panel discussion hosted by U.S. Trust for business owners and professional advisers. The discussion, titled “Creating a Legacy that Lasts: Thoughts on Succession Planning,” focused on strategies to assist...Read more
February 12, 2012

Seven Brooks Pierce Attorneys on Faculty for UNC CLE Festival

Wade Hargrove presented "Media Law in the Digital Age: The Rules Are Changing, Are You?" on February 11. Continuing change in the way news and information are communicated and received has undermined the business model of conventional news media companies causing public officials to reassess...Read more
October 14, 2010

Tarleton Presents at NC Bar Association Start-Up Boot Camp

The Second Annual Boot Camp was a two-day program dedicated to the practice details of starting and running a law practice. Audience members included lawyers just starting a new practice as well as those looking in inject new ideas and energy into their existing firm's marketing efforts. Adam...Read more


The 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America © recognized 54 Brooks Pierce attorneys as industry...(read more)
Thirty-nine Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2017 edition of North Carolina...(read more)
Thirteen Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in the 2017...(read more)
Thirty-seven Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2016 edition of North Carolina...(read more)
Fourteen Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in the 2016...(read more)
Thirty-six Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized in the 2015 edition of North Carolina Super...(read more)
Sixteen Brooks Pierce attorneys have been recognized by their peers for inclusion in the 2015...(read more)
Brooks Pierce recently recognized the firm’s attorneys who made significant contributions to pro...(read more)
Business North Carolina magazine publishes annually the “Legal Elite,” lawyers throughout the state...(read more)
Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 39 lawyers, representing 46% of the firm’s attorneys,...(read more)

Recent Publications & Media