Trust and Estate Counsel

Paul C. Hayes


Paul Hayes is a member and tax attorney with Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek, PLLC, a boutique law firm which limits its practice to the tax, trusts and estates, and related litigation practice areas. His practice includes:

  • Assisting high-net-worth individuals and families in the areas of estate planning, tax planning, multigenerational gift planning, charitable giving, and asset protection planning

  • Advising owners of closely held businesses on succession planning and general tax (state and federal), operational and business law matters

  • Representing estates for administration, including preparation of estate, inheritance, gift and other fiduciary tax returns, as well as for tax audits or other controversies

  • Representing trustees and beneficiaries concerning trust and estate administration matters

  • Creating and advising private foundations and other charities.

Paul is also licensed as a CPA and as a certified financial planner. His prior work experience includes being a partner in the tax group of Waller Lansden Dortch and Davis, LLP, part of the National Tax Consulting Practice of Ernst & Young, LLP working with high-net-worth families, and a principal in a regional accounting firm’s tax consulting and personal financial planning practice.

Paul is recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® (2010 – 2019 editions) for his work in the areas of tax law and trusts and estates and was recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” in 2019 in the area of tax law in Nashville, Tennessee. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He has received an AV Preeminent rating for ethical standards and legal ability from Martindale-Hubbell. He actively participates in the drafting and review of proposed legislation as a member of the Tennessee Probate Study Group and as a member of the Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section. Paul also is a frequent speaker on topics in his practice areas for the Nashville and Tennessee Bar Associations.

Professional Activities

  • Member (Chair 2007, 2008), Nashville Bar Association Estate Planning Committee

  • Member (Chair 2006), Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section

  • Chair (2007-2013), Legislative Committee for the Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

  • Member, Tennessee Probate Study Group

  • Member, Nashville Symphony Legacy Advisory Council

  • Member, Nashville, Tennessee, and Kentucky Bar Associations, including committee memberships

  • Director (President 2017 – 2019), Estate Planning Council of Middle Tennessee

  • Member, Tennessee and Kentucky Society of CPAs

  • Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

  • Member (Director 2009, 2010), Financial Planning Association of Middle Tennessee

Professional Licenses

  • Attorney at Law, Tennessee

  • Attorney at Law, Kentucky

  • Certified Public Accountant

  • Certified Financial Planner


  • J.D., with high honors (1st in graduating class), Memphis State University, 1993. Completed one-half of law school course work at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri.

  • B.A., economics, summa cum laude, Murray State University, 1990