Richard J. Nickels
Rick represents privately held companies, families and individuals in corporate and estate planning matters. This has been Rick’s legal focus for nearly 20 years.
On the corporate side, Rick advises owners, directors and executives of closely held companies on an array of matters, ranging from early stage structure and funding, mid stage buy-outs and divorces, to late stage exits. Rick has significant experience in handling all phases of corporate acquisitions, divestitures, mergers, restructures and exempt securities offerings with transaction values often in the $10 million to $50 million range. He regularly assists family owned businesses with succession planning, including preparing buy-sell agreements, stock restriction agreements and other internal governance documents. Whereas Rick’s corporate practice is industry diverse, it does tend to have an emphasis on manufacturers representative companies and financial service firms including insurance and benefit agencies.
On the estate planning side, Rick counsels families and individuals on matters relating to wealth preservation and transfer. In this arena, Rick has substantial experience in helping clients identify, and tailor a plan to meet, familial goals. Within this framework Rick advises on federal transfer and income taxes, and drafts wills, revocable and irrevocable trusts, intentionally defective grantor trusts, asset protection trusts, charitable trusts, family limited partnerships and other estate planning documents. He forms private foundations and other tax-exempt entities and applies for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. Rick’s practice also includes representing fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the administration of trusts and decedent’s estates.
- Sale of insurance and benefits agency to strategic buyer.
- Sale of payment processing business to financial buyer.
- Sale of manufacturers representative company representing commercial kitchen products lines.
- Tax-free spin-off of separate line of business from company's core business.
- Purchase of insurance agencies, including owner's personal goodwill.
- Private placement of debt and equity in technology company.
- Recapitalization and restructure of company with interstate operations for succession purposes.
- Acquisition of controlling interest in family franchise business by second generation.
- Limited partnership and dynasty trust creation as part of estate plan.
- Represent beneficiaries in sale and other disposition of estate’s ownership interest in several ventures.
Highlights & Recognitions
- The Best Lawyers in America©, Corporate Law, 2015-2017
Memberships & Affiliations
- American Bar Association (Business Law Section - Middle market and Small Business Committee)
- Tennessee Bar Association (Tax Law Section)
- Nashville Bar Association
Civic & Charitable Organizations
- Miracle League of Music City, Director
- West Nashville Sports League, Director
- Hearing Solutions International, Director
Non-FBT Publications and Events
“Portability: Navigating the New Estate Planning Landscape” presented for M. Lee Smith Publishers, November 12, 2013.
"Wealth Transfer and Preservation: Helping Clients Identify opportunities and Pitfalls in the New Era", presented to National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, October 18, 2013.
"Planned Giving", presented at Institutional Investors Conference hosted by Crosslin Vaden & Associates and Capital Financial Group, LLC, May 2, 2007.