J. Aaron Nelson

  • Sole Practitioner


Bluffton, SC



I graduated from The Citadel in May 2008, with a bachelor's degree in Business Management: Accounting. I attended law school at the Charleston School of Law and received my Master of Laws in Taxation from the University of Florida in 2012.


After graduating from the University of Florida, I worked at Deloitte Tax, LLP for a short time before moving to Greenville, South Carolina to work for the firm of Merline & Meacham, P.A. At Merline & Meacham, I primarily practiced estate planning, probate administration, general business law (including corporate and LLC formation), and represented clients before the IRS and SCDOR in audit and collection matters. I continue to work at Merline & Meacham, P.A. as "of counsel."

Professional Memberships

I am a member of the American Bar Association, the South Carolina Bar Association, and the Hilton Head Island Bar Association, and serve as a Council Member of South Carolina Bar's Tax Law Section.

Publications and Professional Development

I have written in the fields of trust decanting and retirement planning, and spoken extensively on the topic of trust decanting and the modification of irrevocable trusts. Most recently, I've spoken at the 2017 South Carolina Bar Convention on the topic of deferred compensation beneficiary designations.

Personal Life

My wife and I met in law school and were married in 2011 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Our daughter was born in September of 2015. We have two English labrador retrievers, Ashley and Cooper. In my free time in the spring and summer I enjoy fishing, boating, and otherwise loving the May River. In the fall, I enjoy college football, particularly the Clemson Tigers.

Areas Of Practice

  • Estate Planning
  • Probate
  • Business Formation
  • Tax
  • DUI

Bar Admissions

  • South Carolina, 2011
  • U.S. Tax Court, 2012


  • Charleston School of Law, Charleston, South Carolina
    • Law Review: Charleston Law Review, Associate Articles Editor, 2009 - 2011 - Juris Doctor - 2011
    • Honors: magna cum laude
  • University of Florida College of Law, Gainesville, Florida
    • LL.M., Master of Laws - 2012
    • Major: Taxation
  • The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina
    • B.S., Bachelor of Science - 2008
    • Honors: cum laude
    • Major: Business Administration: Accounting

Published Works

  • A Guide to Decanting, South Carolina Lawyer, November, 2014
  • Unlocking IRAs, South Carolina Lawyer, July, 2016

Classes / Seminars

  • Correcting Faulty Beneficiary Designations, South Carolina Bar Convention, 2017
  • Decanting and Modification of Trusts, Hilton Head Island Bar, 2014
  • Decanting and Modification of Trusts under the Revised Trust Code and ATRA, Probate Bench and Bar, 2014
  • Trusts 101, National Business Institute, 2016
  • Wills, Trusts, and Probate, Charleston School of Law, 2016
  • The Basics of International Income and Estate Tax, Probate and Pumpernickel, 2016

Honors And Awards

  • CALI® Excellence of the Future Award: Estate and Gift Taxation
  • CALI® Excellence of the Future Award: Partnership Taxation
  • CALI® Excellence of the Future Award: Corporate Taxation
  • CALI® Excellence of the Future Award: Securities Regulation
  • CALI® Excellence of the Future Award: Criminal Law
  • American Jurisprudence Book Award: Partnership Taxation

Professional Associations And Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Member, 2011 to Present
  • South Carolina Bar Association, Member, 2011 to Present
  • Hilton Head Island Bar Association, Member, 2016 to Present
  • South Carolina Bar Tax Section, Member, 2011 to Present
  • South Carolina Bar Probate, Estate Planning, and Trusts Section, Member, 2011 to Present
  • South Carolina Bar Tax Section, Council Member, 2016 to Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Merline & Meacham, P.A., Associate, 2012 to 2016
  • Merline & Meachem, P.A., Of Counsel, 2016 to 2017
  • Deloitte Tax, LLP, Tax Consultant I, 2012 to 2012


  • English

Certified Legal Specialties

Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts