Statistics indicate most American adults don't have estate plans, partially because they believe such steps will be exceedingly challenging to develop and partly because they envision such planning is associated with later stages of aging, such as post-retirement. However, estate plans are important to have in place earlier in life, so important in fact, one local law team specializes and excels in them.
When Russ Cook founded his Brentwood-based law firm in 2007, he set out to handle the most complex estate, probate and business planning matters. Through 40-plus years of combined legal experience and certifications, his 10-member team at Cook Tillman Law Group now assists various types of Middle Tennessee clients, all while maintaining their utmost privacy.
Russ is joined by partners Josh Tillman and Alex Fasching.
Josh is recognized as an estate planning specialist by the Tennessee Board of Certification and Specialization and holds the Accredited Estate Planner and Estate Planning Law Specialist designations with the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. Josh advises clients on estate planning matters as well as closely held business owners regarding business succession.
Alex heads up the firm's probate department, helping families after they have lost loved ones. His multifaceted experience includes building a new law firm into a multistate probate litigation specialization firm. He obtained his law degree in Minnesota and is licensed in Tennessee.
“Tax laws evolve so quickly, we’re seeing an industry shift from general practitioners providing trusts and estates services to those who must specialize in this area of law,” Russ says. “Tennessee trust laws are so advantageous, it would be a disservice to not have the knowledge, and therefore the ability, to pass those benefits on to clients.”
Russ was the first attorney to be recognized as an estate planning specialist by the Tennessee Board of Certification and Specialization. Additionally, he holds the Accredited Estate Planner and Estate Planning Law Specialist designations with the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils. He’s also a member of the Middle Tennessee Estate Planning Council and the Tennessee Bar Association.
He received his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany and his Juris Doctor from the Washington College of Law at American University, Washington, D.C. He also was enrolled in the International Business Studies program in Denmark.
Russ is also a frequent guest on the Retirement Report television show on News Channel 5 and has appeared on 99.7 WWTN, 1510 WLAC and 107.9 WMSR Radio.
Located at 5141 Virginia Way, Suite 220, in Brentwood, the Cook Tillman Law Group staff handles all aspects of estate planning (wills, trusts, powers of attorney), supplemental needs planning, dynasty trust planning, charitable trust planning, probate and trust administration, will contests, business formation and business general counsel services. In addition to wills and trusts, they also assist with the varied details for establishing powers of attorney, living wills and conservatorships.
The lawyers there even lead complimentary seminars for clients, colleagues and the community. In fact, Russ and Josh are continuing education sponsors with Certified Financial Planners and so provide seminars eligible for continuing education credits.
“We strive to stay up-to-date on new estate planning trends and look forward to sharing that information with financial planners and others who benefit from the important details. We’re always open to questions from community advisers looking to provide comprehensive financial and estate planning services for their clients,” Russ says. “It’s a good arrangement.”
Russ says they understand and value everyone's confidentiality. "Many of our clients are business owners, wealthy individuals, entertainers, and high-profile public figures, and we do all we can to protect our client's privacy as well as their interests."
“As specialists, we have the unique opportunity to offer a wide range of estate and business planning services, from basic wills for newlyweds and new parents to the most sophisticated plans for entertainers, entrepreneurs, blended families and non-traditional households,” he adds.
Clients indicate they appreciate the laser-like focus of this firm, bolstered by knowing Russ' father was in estate planning, as was his grandfather.
Cook Tillman Law Group professionals conduct seminars for clients, financial consultants and other attorneys, including some for continuing education credits.