Richard H. Howard-Smith

Richard H. Howard-Smith


Richard Howard-Smith is a tax and business lawyer who concentrates his practice in estate planning and administration, including tax-motivated and other sophisticated planning, business entity planning, formation and restructuring, and various business matters. His practice also includes expertise in business acquisitions, sales and mergers, charitable giving, tax-exempt organizations and general business work.

Richard and his wife, Susan, reside in Ivy, and are proud of their three grown children, and their son-in-law and daughter-in-law. In his leisure time, Richard enjoys world travel, spending time with his children and in-laws, wine, golf, and as much exercise as he can.


Richard Howard-Smith has broad tax expertise unusual among estate planning and business lawyers, a distinction appreciated by sophisticated clients.  Also increasingly unique in today's world is Richard’s attention and focus on custom work tailored to different clients and client matters with a friendly and helpful attitude.  Because of the range and depth of his experience and his solution-driven approach in estate planning and closely-held business matters, Richard is creative and flexible, while being pragmatic and sensitive to client concerns and risk level.

Richard’s Estate Planning and Administration practice matters range from the routine and ordinary to sophisticated estate planning and administration for persons of substantial wealth, and unique and complicated matters that require special expertise and skill, including those involving international clients and matters.  Among the matters he has handled are sales to defective grantor trusts, QPRTs, ILITs, charitable remainder and lead trusts, conservation easements, trust mergers, modifications and terminations of irrevocable trusts, trust decanting, contested estate administrations, asset protection entity structuring, premarital and buy-sell agreements for estate planning purposes, disclaimers and specialized custom estate and income tax motivated beneficiary designations for qualified retirement plan assets.

Richard also handles Tax-Exempt Organization matters for a wide variety of organizations, including formations (charitable and non-charitable), reformations, and charitable trusts, in addition to various restructuring transactions, such as dissolutions, mergers and divisions.

Richard’s Business Entity practice is focused on of individuals who own closely-held businesses, who appreciate his experience in tax and business law, especially organizational and transactional matters, such as sales, mergers and reorganizations.  He can assist in the choice of entity for a business, the formation of a business, buying a business, maintaining the business, estate planning and succession planning for the business, and in the sale or other reorganization of the business.


  • Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia
  • U.S. Tax Court


  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow, ACTEC (The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel)
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Named Best Lawyers® Charlottesville Tax “Lawyer of the Year,” 2022 (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)
  • Named Best Lawyers® Charlottesville Trust and Estates “Lawyer of the Year,” 2021 (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)
    • Tax Law, 2013 - 2022
    • Trusts and Estates, 2013 - 2022
  • Selected to “Legal Elite,” Virginia Business, Taxes / Estates / Trusts, 2019 - 2021
  • Selected to “Virginia Super Lawyers,” Estate Planning/Probate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006 – 2012

AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.


Professional Involvement
  • Fellow, ACTEC (The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel)
  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association
    • President (2019-2020)
    • Board of Directors (2018-2021)
    • Secretary/Treasurer (1993-1994)
    • Past Chair, Wills, Trusts & Estates Committee (1997-2007)
  • Virginia Bar Association
    • Past Chair of Virginia Tax Manual Committee
  • American Bar Association
    • Member of Sections on Taxation; Real Property, Probate and Trust
  • Virginia State Bar
    • VSB Council -16th Judicial Circuit
    • Member of Sections on Taxation; Trusts and Estates (Board of Governors member, 2017-present)
Community Involvement
  • Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation
    • Board (2015-present); Planned Giving Committee
  • Martha Jefferson Health Services Corporation
    • Board Member (2019-present)
  • Central Virginia Estate Planning Council (1997-present)
    • Former President, Vice President and Secretary
  • Thomas Jefferson Area “Leave a Legacy” Campaign (Co-Founder)
  • Charlottesville Area Planned Giving Council Board Member (2005-present)
  • University of Virginia Health Foundation, Advisory Council
Practice Areas Education

College of William and Mary
School of Law

Williamsburg, Virginia
Master of Law & Taxation, 1985
J.D., 1984

University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
B.A., with Distinction, Psychology, 1981

Highlighted Recognitions

Fellow, ACTEC (The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel)

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