Carl L. King, a Senior Partner in the firm's Trusts and Estates group, represents individuals, helping them to achieve their family, financial and estate planning goals while minimizing their potential estate, gift and income tax liabilities.

Carl has extensive experience implementing intergenerational transfers of wealth, using charitable entities, closely held business interests and life insurance strategies. Carl has drafted and implemented hundreds of complex gift and estate tax strategies including generation skipping trusts, family limited liability companies, installment sales to grantor trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts ("GRATS") and a wide variety of charitable entities.

In recent years, Carl's most rewarding professional work has included counseling families (all generations) during the creation and growth of family offices; providing legal advice with respect to some of the largest charitable gifts in North Carolina's history; and advising families during the administration of the estates of loved ones.

Carl provides regular legal counsel to trusts and estates, advising them on sophisticated tax-saving opportunities, including disclaimers, tax elections and allocations, and other related matters, and defends them in gift and estate tax audits. Carl also represents foundations and public charities as an ongoing part of his practice.

Carl helps provide legal defense for trusts and estates when facing substantial claims from creditors or disgruntled beneficiaries; and conversely, Carl has helped beneficiaries and other constituents protect and enforce their claims against estates and trusts.

Prior to joining the firm, Carl worked for several years in the development office of a large Philadelphia-based charity before clerking for the Honorable William Bohling and the Salt Lake City Division of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Named Best Lawyers  2021 Tax Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Charlotte
  • Chambers HNW 2018
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® – Tax Law and Trusts and Estates (2018-2022)
  • Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning and Probate Law (2005-present)
  • Selected as the 2008 Pro Bono Attorney of the Year by Legal Services of the Southern Piedmont
  • Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell (2012-present)
  • Selected for inclusion in North Carolina Super Lawyers (2014-2021)
  • Selected as a Five Star Wealth Manager (2010-2012) and Five Star Estate Planning Attorney (2013-2014)
  • Business North Carolina Legal Elite, Tax and Estate Planning (2009, 2016, 2017, 2019)
  • Advised clients and implemented sophisticated estate planning techniques designed to help clients transfer approximately $3-4 Billion aggregate net wealth to younger generations and charities with a minimum of income and transfer tax since joining the firm.
  • Advised and later successfully defended extraordinarily complex $82 Million charitable gift, listed among the largest charitable gifts in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “Philanthropy 50” in 2011. Continued advice on parallel matters resulting in additional $140,000,000 charitable gifts appearing in The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “Philanthropy 50” in 2018.
  • Comfortable advising clients with international estate concerns. Past advice has addressed substantial contact with the countries of: Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Netherlands, Mauritius, Nevis, Peru, South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom.
  • Appears as expert witness concerning tax and fiduciary matters in trust and estate cases.
  • Developed and implemented advanced partnership (i.e., LLC) planning and creative partnership exit strategies to significantly defer income and transfer taxes.
  • Innovative transfer planning for clients owning a wide variety of assets – examples: sale of large contingency fee to perpetual grantor trust; structure investment (versus dealer) real estate transactions to preserve capital gains and coordinate with charitable conservation easements; estate freezes coordinated with capital gain deferrals and monetization of concentrated positions in low-basis publicly-traded stock and real estate.
  • Drafted and reviewed hundreds of standard advanced estate planning documents (wills, trusts, irrevocable trusts, family limited liability companies, gift transfers, sales to defective trusts, GRATs, etc.).
  • Advised closely-held businesses, including analysis of potential S elections, preparation of stock recapitalizations, shareholders’ agreements, corporate and partnership liquidations, and salary continuation agreements.
  • Counseled clients concerning charitable planning, including formation of supporting organizations, private foundations, public charities, CLAT’s and CRTs (including preferred-partnership NIMCRUTs).
  • Represented estates and beneficiaries in IRS audits, caveat proceedings, reformation proceedings, and advanced post-mortem planning (e.g., 6166 and Graegin-type interest deductions).
  • Extensive involvement in public and private asset management, including selection and oversight of private money managers, close coordination with trust officers and investment bankers; analysis and implementation of legal and financial monetization and diversification tools.

Professional Activities

  • Supreme Court of the United States Amicus Brief of American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in NCDOR v. The Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, co-author and member of ad hoc drafting subcommittee of the Amicus Review Committee.    Kaestner Amicus Brief ACTEC PDF
  • Visiting Adjunct Professor, University of Miami College of Law, Heckerling Graduate Program in Estate Planning
  • “Helping Trusts Do More:  Charitable Distributions under IRC 642(c),” Power to Give – National Christian Foundation (Charlotte, NC-Virtual, September 22 & 23, 2020)
  •  States of Decay-The Erosion of the State Fiduciary Income Tax Landscape (Kaestner, Fielding, and State Fiduciary Income Tax)
    • Land of the Sky Estate Planning Council (Asheville, NC, September 17, 2020)
    • San Francisco Estate Planning Council (San Francisco, CA, September 18, 2019)
    • 2019 Georgia Federal Tax Conference (Atlanta, GA, June 14, 2019)
    • ACTEC Southeast Regional Meeting (Asheville, NC, September 9, 2018)
    • Committee on Banking Institutions for Taxation (CBIT)’s 48th Annual Fall Tax Day (New York, NY,  November 30, 2017)
  • State Fiduciary Income Tax-Where the Action Is, 31st Annual RPTE National CLE Conference from Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law (Boston, MA, May 9-10, 2019)
  • “Death and Taxes – Understanding the Fiduciary Tax Forms Series: The 1041 Fiduciary Income Tax Return,” American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law eCLE (March 7, 2019)
  • Stitching Shadows in Neverland-Basis, Disregarded Notes and Grantor Trusts, NC Bar Association, Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section Annual Meeting (Kiawah Island, July 27, 2018)
  • “Running the Gamut of Promissory Note Planning from A to Z: Review of the Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls Associated with Intra-Family Loans,” American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate, Spring Symposia (Denver, April 2017)
  • “Challenges Presented by Basis Consistency Regulations and Forms,” American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate, Spring Symposia (Boston, May 2016)
  • “Fiduciary Accounts and Preparing and Filling Fiduciary Income Tax Returns,” Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association, eLearning Webinar (October 13, 2016)
  • “Beyond the Basis Consistency Basics,” American Bar Association Income and Transfer Tax Planning Group Call (July 21, 2016).
  • Official Comments on the Proposed Basis Consistency Regulations submitted to the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of the Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section of the American Bar Association, one of three principal authors. (June 23, 2016)


  • Co-author (with Andrew Dinwiddie), The Limits of North Carolina Fiduciary Income Taxation After Kaestner, Making Do With Continued Uncertainty, The Will & The Way, Volume 39, No 2, March 2020
  • “Kaestner’s Impact on NC Fiduciary Income Taxation,” Estate Planning & Fiduciary Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, August 2018
  • Co-author (with John Hodnette), “Stitching Shadows In Neverland: A Counterpart Basis Analysis Applied to Disregarded Promissory Notes and Assets Owned in Grantor Trusts,” Probate & Property, November/December 2017
  • “Double Basis Step Up and Consensual Community Property: Coming Soon to a State Near You?” American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate, Spring Symposia, (Boston, May 2016)
  • Kaestner and the Future of North Carolina Fiduciary Income Taxation,” the Will & the Way, Section Vol. 34, No. 4, June 2015.
  • “Tar Heel (or Is It Blue Devil) Trusts under North Carolina Law,”  Leimberg Asset Protection Newsletter, LISI Asset Protection Planning 271 (November 24, 2014).
  • “Post-mortem ILITs: ‘Better a Lender than a Buyer Be:’ Graegin Loan Design,” The McGehee Group, Inc. (Las Vegas, 2014).
  • “Stern Tax Planning: Planning from the ‘Back of the Boat:’ Installment Notes, Graegin Loans, Upstream LLC’s,” EY Family Office and Tax Education Series (Charlotte, 2013).
  • “Fiduciary Income Tax of North Carolina Trusts and Estates,” North Carolina Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Law Survey Course (Cary, NC, 2013).
  • “Wimpy Tax Planning: I Will Gladly Pay You ‘Tuesday’ for Diversification, Today,” EY Family Office and Tax Education Series (Charlotte, 2011)
  • “Preparing Wills and Estate Planning Documents for Low-Income, Elderly Clients,” Continuing Legal Education presented under the sponsorship of Legal Aid of North Carolina and Legal Services of Southern Piedmont (Charlotte, annually, 2006-present).


  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • Committee appointment to ACTEC’s Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, 2021-2022
  • American Bar Association, Individual and Fiduciary Income Tax committee of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section: Vice Chair (2015-2019)
  • North Carolina Bar Association Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section Council: Member (2016-2019 term, 2019-2022 term)
  • North Carolina Bar Association, Legislative Committee of Estate Planning and Fiduciary Law Section (2013-present): Rapid Response sub-committee (2014-2018)
  • The Choir School, President (previous terms 2007-2009 and 2014-2019) and Board member (2014-2020)
  • St. Peters Episcopal Church, Charlotte, Subdeacon and Lector
  • Foundation for the Carolinas, Cabinet of Professional Advisors (2014-2016)
  • Friends School of Charlotte, Board of Trustees, including Clerkship (2008-2013)
  • Legal Services for the Elderly, Treasurer and Board member (2002-2007)
  • Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Board member (2007-2008)
  • Queens University Estate Planning Day Steering Committee (2007-2008)