Briani L. Bennett is a tax and estate planning practitioner licensed to practice law in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Ms. Bennett’s practice with the firm’s estate planning group is primarily focused on wealth transfer and federal transfer tax planning, family and closely-held business succession, and income tax compliance.   Ms. Bennett advises on the technical and tax aspects related to various business and estate planning matters, including:

  • Gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) tax planning;
  • Creation and administration of irrevocable trusts;
  • Trust modifications or decantings;
  • Multi-generational wealth transfer planning;
  • Succession or exit strategies for closely-held businesses;
  • Trusts as shareholders or owners of family or operating businesses;
  • Philanthropic and charitable planning; and
  • Novel or complex estate planning transactions or techniques.

Ms. Bennett writes and presents on advanced estate planning topics at state and national levels.  Her seminars for the American Bar Association, the North Carolina Bar Association, and Bloomberg BNA, among others, have examined the practical and federal tax implications of trust modifications, decantings, and other complex or innovative wealth transfer techniques.  Ms. Bennett is an author of Bloomberg BNA’s Tax Management Portfolio on Trust Decanting, No. 871, and has published articles on matters involving estate planning and trust administration for numerous publications, including the ACTEC Law Journal, the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Journal, Trusts & Estates, and Estate Planning magazine.

Ms. Bennett has served as a chair for the American Bar Association’s RPTE Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Committee for 2014-2017, and for its Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax Committee from 2019 to 2021.

  • Selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2022 in the specialties of Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates
  • Judicial Clerk, the Honorable Joseph F. Anderson, Jr., U.S. District Court, District of South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina)
  • Recipient, Tax Law Review Scholarship (New York University School of Law)
  • Tax Law Review, Graduate Editor (New York University School of Law)
  • South Carolina Law Review, Editorial Staff (University of South Carolina School of Law)
  • Order of the Coif
  • Order of the Wig & Robe
  • Designed and implemented sophisticated wealth transfer and estate planning techniques, including generation-skipping transfer (“GST”) or dynasty trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts (“ILITs”), intentionally defective grantor trusts (“IDGTs”), grantor retained annuity trusts (“GRATs”), grantor trust sales, and intergenerational family business succession planning
  • Drafted and provided legal advice for the administration of irrevocable inter vivos trusts for multiple family generations, mixed-family situations, creditor, marital or spendthrift protection, preservation of family businesses, and qualified retirement plan assets
  • Created and implemented trusts as part of business planning techniques, including business succession planning and New Markets Tax Credits transactions
  • Provided legal advice for complex multi-family operating agreements, buy-sell provisions, and transfer restrictions
  • Reviewed and analyzed gift, estate, GST, or income tax implications of trust settlements, modifications, decantings, or terminations
  • Provided legal advice and assistance for the administration or conversion of out-of-state trusts (e.g., Delaware, Massachusetts, Florida, Nevada)
  • Assisted in the review, drafting, and implementation of gifting and trust techniques as part of premarital or marital settlement agreements
  • Administered and provided legal advice to personal representatives in the probate of large and complex estates and to trustees in the funding and administration of complex trusts
  • Prepared, filed and reviewed gift and estate tax returns
  • Domestic transfer tax planning for U.S.-sitused assets of nonresident aliens and their families


  • ACTEC Law Journal, Co-Author, The Tax and Practical Aspects of the Installment Sale to a Spousal Grantor Trust, Volume 44, Number 1, Winter 2019
  • Contributing author for chapter on Estate Litigation, Estate Planning in South Carolina, 2nd Edition, Vol. IV (South Carolina Bar 2016) (co-author)
  • “Decanting from Trusts with Perpetuities Savings Provisions,” Estate Planning, October 2014.
  • ABA RPTE eReport, Practice Alert, Trust Decanting Update: Recent Case Law and Developments, August 2014.
  • Bloomberg BNA Tax Management Portfolio, Trust Decanting, 871-1st T.M. (co-author)
  • “Trust Decanting: An Overview and Introduction to Creative Planning Opportunities,” Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L. J., Vol. 45, Issue No. 1, Spring 2010 (co-author)
  • “Use of Trust Decanting to Extend the Term of Irrevocable Trusts,” Estate Planning, Vol. 37, No. 6, June 2010 (co-author)
  • “Closely Held Business Interests and the Trustee’s Duty to Diversify,” Trusts & Estates, April 2009 (co-author)


  • Presenter, “Sales to Spousal Grantor Trusts,” ALI-CLE Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner, October 8, 2020
  • Panelist, “Leveraged Estate Planning in Light of the 2020 Economy,” ALI-CLE Estate Planning for the Family Business Owner, October 8, 2020 
  • Panelist, “Installment Sales to Spousal Grantor Trusts,” American Bar Association’s 2018 Fall Tax Meeting, Atlanta, GA, October 5, 2018
  • Panelist, “En Garde! Dueling Views of the Consequences of Bifurcated Transfers,” ABA Section of Taxation and Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Trust & Estate Division, 2016 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, Boston, Massachusetts, September 30, 2016
  • Panelist, “Refashioning Irrevocable Trusts: Practical and Tax Considerations for Modifying Irrevocable Trusts,” North Carolina Bar Association’s 2016 Advanced Estate Planning Survey Course, Cary, NC, May 6, 2016
  • Panelist, “Modifying Irrevocable Trusts: Judicial and Non-Judicial Modifications, Reformations, and Decanting – A Study of the Rules Governing the Ability to Change Irrevocable Trusts,” North Carolina Bar Association’s 2014 Advanced Estate Planning Survey Course, Cary, North Carolina, May 9, 2014
  • Panelist, “Modifying Irrevocable Trusts: Trust Decanting and Court-Ordered Trust Modifications,” South Carolina Bankers Association 2014 Trust Conference, Columbia, South Carolina, April 18, 2014
  • Panelist, at seminar to discuss South Carolina’s New Probate Code, Greenville County Probate Court, Greenville, SC, October 4, 2013
  • Presenter for Bloomberg BNA webinar, “Trust Decanting: Examples and Analysis,” September 25, 2013
  • Panelist on trust decanting at the 2012 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, ABA Sections of Taxation and Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, Estate Division on September 14, 2012, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Panelist, “Modifying Irrevocable Trusts,” North Carolina Bar Association’s Advanced Estate Planning Survey Course, April 19, 2012, Cary, North Carolina
  • Panelist, on trust decanting at the 9th Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Tax Section Workshops, May 28-30, 2010, Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Professional Activities

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), 2022
  • Co-Chair, RPTE Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, American Bar Association, 2019-2021
  • Vice Chair, RPTE Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, American Bar Association, 2017-2019
  • Co-Chair, RPTE Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Committee, American Bar Association, 2014-2017
  • Vice Chair, RPTE Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Committee, American Bar Association, 2012-2014