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Jonathan R. Burns


Spencer Fane attorney Jonathan Burns

T 615.238.6330
F 615.238.6301

Jonathan R. Burns helps both individuals and businesses with structuring transactions and arranging their personal financial affairs to minimize, defer, or eliminate taxes. He concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning, probate, corporate law, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and taxation.

While in law school at the University of Mississippi, Jonathan discovered his desire to help others make sure their financial affairs were in order from a legal standpoint. He then went on to pursue and obtain an L.L.M. in Taxation from Washington University in St. Louis with a primary focus on estate planning.

Jonathan lives in Franklin with his wife, Amy, and together they have two children. They are active members of Clearview Baptist Church. Jonathan enjoys being on the golf course whenever time allows.

Highlights of Jonathan’s experience include:

Estate Planning, Probate Law, Wills and Trusts

Assists clients in the preparation of various estate planning documents including but not limited to:

  • Last Wills and Testaments.
  • Durable General Powers of Attorney.
  • Healthcare Powers of Attorney.
  • Living Wills.
  • Tennessee Community Property Trusts.
  • Tennessee Tenancy by the Entirety Trusts.
  • Tennessee Investment Services Trusts.
  • Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts.
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts.
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts.
  • Charitable Lead Trusts

Assists clients in the following strategies:

  • Sales to Beneficiary Defective Inheritor’s Trust (BDIT).
  • Sales and Gifts to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGT).
  • Sales and Gifts to Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT).

Handles complex probate cases involving but not limited to:

  • Estates with Business Interests.
  • Lawsuits.
  • Estates Subject to Federal Estate Taxes.
  • Multimillion-Dollar Estates. 

Business & Corporate Law

  • Assisted client in obtaining disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) status.
  • Represented seller in $30 million sale of oil change & service center company with approximately 30 locations.
  • Represented seller in $25 million sale of optical business.
  • Represented seller in $3 million sale of software company.
  • Represented seller in multimillion-dollar sale of water bottling company.
  • Represented seller in multimillion-dollar sale of landscaping/outdoor services business.
  • Represented seller in multimillion-dollar sale of bedding company.
  • Represented seller in the sale of trucking business.
  • Represented seller in the sale of grave vault business.
  • Represented buyer in the purchase of accounting firm.

Nonprofits and Tax-Exempt Entities

  • Assists various types of 501 (c) entities in forming the organization, obtaining tax-exempt status, filing IRS form 1023 and other applicable forms.

Real Estate

  • Drafts commercial and residential lease agreements.
  • Serves as qualified intermediary for 1031 transactions.


  •  Nashville Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Mississippi Bar Association
  • Estate Planning Council of Middle Tennessee


  • Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch, 2021

Contact Jonathan Burns at 615.238.6330 or jburns@spencerfane.com.