As an attorney skilled in providing both estate planning and business transaction services, Dalen Farmer works diligently with his clients to navigate the complex legal landscape to successful outcomes for families, individuals, businesses, and partnerships. Whether your concerns and needs are small, one-time visits, or complex estates and businesses, these matters are both personal and meaningful. Dalen’s strengths are in providing the best legal counsel in estate planning, business transactions, and at the intersection where the two areas often meet.
Dalen Farmer graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Economics, and received his Juris Doctor degree from the Humphreys School of Law in Memphis. After graduating, he worked as in-house counsel for two major financial institutions, concentrating in regulatory compliance, mergers and acquisition, and consumer lending. He also advised the trust and investment advisory division of a major bank, which is where he developed a passion for thoughtful, client-focused estate planning. Before opening his private practice in Murfreesboro, he spent fourteen years as a Wealth Management Advisor for two large investment firms in the Nashville and Chattanooga areas.
I'd always planned to go back to the practice of law, and after I moved to Murfreesboro and fell in love with the town, I thought, "This would be a perfect place to start the law practice that I've always had in mind."
Having worked as both an attorney and investment advisor, Dalen brings a unique perspective to his clients’ issues in estate planning and business transactions. As his primary areas of practice, the experience in both has helped tremendously. When he is coordinating an estate plan with a client’s Accountant, Financial Advisor, or Insurance Agent, it always helps that he “speaks the language.”
Estates, Wills, and Trusts
Estate planning is, for most people, the culmination of a life's work. Whether it's a business or just personal savings, it typically involves a house that they've lived in for some period of time, and it involves their children. A lot of times it involves children that they've already raised, and maybe their grandchildren. At Dalen Farmer, Attorney at Law, we feel estate planning is one of the most important things someone would do, right up there with graduating, getting married, having children, and retiring from work. This is one of the most important events in someone's life, and it needs to be taken seriously.
Dalen’s primary goal is to help clients determine and implement a sensible distribution of their estate, one that reflects well on their legacy. Many times this involves establishing or improving trusts (or other entities) where assets are protected for a future beneficiary because of age, special need, or unique circumstance. Drafting wills, trusts and other estate planning documents is a large part of the job, and attention to detail is important. He also advises clients on retirement plans, life insurance policies, and charitable contributions. This is where his wealth management advisory expertise can be helpful. Finally, if an estate is to probated in court, he helps his clients (Executors and Trustees) through this process.
Business Transactions, Organization, and Consulting
Many clients are starting, buying or selling a business. In these matters, there are many regulatory issues to be addressed, and an experienced attorney is vital to addressing them. In businesses with multiple owners, written Shareholder (or Partnership, or Operating) Agreements must be in place. Also, many of these same clients will need help with negotiating real estate leases, vendor or employee contracts, and loan agreements. For the client who is selling a business, it may be part of an overall succession and estate plan. This is where Dalen’s two areas of practice can cross over.
Some of the matters covered under Business Transactions include:
- State, local, and federal regulatory matters
- Intellectual property
- Shareholder, partnership, or operation agreements
- LLC establishment
- Capital contributions and loss distributions
All of the above are critical for establishing an entities credibility as a potential borrower with financial institutions. Also, if a business plans to bring in investors who are not going to be a day-to-day part of the operation, they will want these items in place with clear definitions of how everything is divided. These are the challenges that Dalen handles with thoughtful, contemplative, and comprehensive care.
Once a business is established, the work continues with items such as:
- Vendor and supplier contract negotiation
- Real estate sales and lease contracts and negotiation
- Employee agreements
- HR policies
- Business sales and succession plans
Dalen is a member of the American Bar Association, and the Rutherford/Cannon Counties Bar Association. He is also a member of the Estate Planning Council of Murfreesboro.
In his personal life, he grew up playing competitive tennis, and even played in college. Recently, he has resumed playing. Also, he found a great way to give back to the game: as an umpire for college tennis matches, both “in the chair” and as a roving umpire responsible for several matches. This involved extensive training through the United States Tennis Association and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. If you go to a Middle Tennessee, UT Chattanooga, or Lipscomb match, you may see Dalen there calling the shots. Additionally, he advises the Middle Tennessee chapter of his college fraternity (Phi Delta Theta), and is active in University of Tennessee Alumni matters.
It is understandable that some people have hesitated to move forward with estate planning because of the perceived costs. Historically, because of the amount of attorney hours spent, the process was expensive. In the past 15 years, two things have changed to help with this:
- Estate and Gift Tax laws have been drastically revised. Currently, a typical married couple may, with a bit of planning, shelter up to $22.4 million from estate taxation. Many states, Tennessee included, have followed suit. For nearly all families, this takes estate taxes out of the picture. Generally speaking, over 99% of estates are not going to be subject to estate or inheritance tax.
- Technology, specifically software programs designed for the estate planning law practice, have reduced the number of hours an attorney must spend to tailor an effective estate plan. These improvements in efficiency have made it easier, and less expensive, for everyone to receive a professional, well-constructed plan for distributing assets to loved ones. Dalen Farmer, Attorney at Law in Murfreesboro, TN, is proud to be a part of this evolution.
The estate planning process doesn’t have to be complicated. The typical path for a client involves…
- Data Collection. Similar to the process a tax accountant or a financial advisor would go through, we start with some basic identifying information of the client, the client’s family, and anyone in the client’s sphere who is to be remembered in some way in the estate plan. These could be business associates, employees, friends, organizations, causes, and others.
- Goals Clarification. What do you want? This is your will, what do you want it to accomplish? These are your trusts that you are planning to put in place. What is the purpose of each of them? How did you envision funding them, in the case of trusts? In order to accomplish what the trust is supposed to accomplish, it has to have money or assets, property with which to do that.
- Overcome Obstacles. What would prevent you from fulfilling these goals? Is there some business agreement out there that needs to be addressed in some way? Something that would restrict your ability to move your property where you want it?
- Paperwork and Follow-through. Like most things in life these days, there is a bit of paperwork involved. But once we have reached this stage, it is just a matter of getting documents witnessed and signed, notarized, filed properly, and followed-up on.