Working with a select group of entrepreneurs, family businesses, and nonprofits, Adam Tarleton provides counsel on tax, estate planning, and business matters to help clients protect and preserve their wealth and achieve their personal and financial goals. He is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization.
Adam works with high net worth individuals to design and execute estate plans that minimize the tax and other costs of transferring wealth to younger generations, and helps develop succession plans 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 certified as a specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization.
"The subjects I deal with every day – death, taxes, corporate structure – are foreign and frightening to most people. My role is 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."
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.
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.
Adam helps clients 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 helps clients negotiate terms of key governing documents for their businesses, such as operating agreements, bylaws, and shareholder or buy-sell agreements.
Honors & Recognitions
Selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in Trusts and Estates (2018-2024) and Tax Law (2024); Greensboro "Lawyer of the Year" in Trusts and Estates (2019)
Recognized in North Carolina Super Lawyers (Thomson Reuters) as a “Rising Star” in Estate and Probate Law (2014-2019)
Recognized by his peers for inclusion in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" in Tax and Estate Planning Law (2014-2023); Young Guns (2018)
Named to Triad Business Journal's "40 Leaders Under 40" (2017)
University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 2007, with highest honors; Order of the Coif; Editor-in-Chief, North Carolina Law Review
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, M.F.A., 2003
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, B.A., 2001, with distinction, with highest honors
Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization
U.S. Tax Court
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
- RecognitionThirty-Two Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina's 2023 "Legal Elite" and "Hall of Fame"01.03.2023
- RecognitionThirty Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2022 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina, 01.03.2022
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.19.2021
- RecognitionTwenty-Six Brooks Pierce Attorneys Named to Business North Carolina’s 2021 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina Legal Elite, 01.03.2021
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.20.2020
- RecognitionTwenty-One Brooks Pierce Attorneys Named to Business North Carolina’s 2020 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina Legal Elite, 01.02.2020
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2019
- RecognitionTwenty-Five Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2019 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina, 01.02.2019
- Media MentionTriad Business Journal, 11.07.2018
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2018
- RecognitionTwenty-five Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2018 “Legal Elite” and "Hall of Fame"Business North Carolina, 01.02.2018
- Press Release11.29.2017
- RecognitionThe Best Lawyers in America®, 08.15.2017
- Press Release08.04.2017
- Press ReleaseTriad Business Journal, 02.17.2017
- RecognitionNorth Carolina Super Lawyers, 01.20.2017
- RecognitionNineteen Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”Business North Carolina, 01.03.2017
- RecognitionNineteen Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina’s 2016 “Legal Elite” and “Hall of Fame”01.07.2016
- RecognitionNorth Carolina Super Lawyers, 01.20.2015
- RecognitionTwenty-one Brooks Pierce Attorneys Recognized in Business North Carolina's "Legal Elite" and "Hall of Fame"Business North Carolina, 01.04.2015
- Press Release01.14.2014
- Press Release04.03.2008
- Speaking Engagements05.23.2019
- Speaking Engagements04.23.2019
- Speaking Engagements02.06.2019
- Speaking EngagementsBrooks Pierce Partners Participate in Panel at Wake and Durham/Chapel Hill Estate Planning Councils Meeting05.23.2018
- Speaking Engagements07.25.2017
- Speaking Engagements02.11.2012
- Speaking Engagements10.13.2010
- Client Alert09.15.2016
- Client Alert06.30.2013
- Client Alert04.20.2010
Professional & Civic
Professional & Civic Activities
Adjunct Professor of Law, Elon University Law School
Member, Board of Directors, Ready for School, Ready for Life (2020-present)
Member, Board of Directors, United Way of Greater Greensboro (2017-present)
Graduate, Leadership Greensboro (2016)
Member, Board of Directors, UNC Law Foundation (2015-2018)
Member, Board of Directors, Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art (2011-2017)
I am a lifelong North Carolinian, and love all parts of this state, from the flat lands Down East where I grew up, to the Triangle where I spent my high school and college years, and the Triad where I’ve made my home since 2001. The coast and the mountains are all right, too.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading, cooking, traveling, playing (poorly) the handful of musical instruments I’ve accumulated over the years, and spending time with my wife, our two teenage boys, and the menagerie of dogs and cats we’ve rescued. My third child is a sourdough starter I built from scratch in 2016.