Richard H. Howard-Smith

Richard H. Howard-Smith
  • Richard H. Howard-Smith
    Attorney at Law

  • Phone: (434) 817-7975
  • Email:
  • Jamie Dunaway, Assistant

  • Phone: (434) 220-9387
  • Email:


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 3 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. Since 1985, Richard has handled almost every kind of estate planning and closely-held business matter except those that are literally beyond the scope and ability of one lawyer to handle. Because of the range 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. His business practice consists of a significant number of individuals who own closely-held businesses, which draws upon his relatively unique level of experience in business law, especially organizational and transactional matters. He can assist a client in creating or buying a business, grow and maintain the business, and in estate planning and succession planning for the same, or handle the sale of the business.

Richard’s estate planning practice matters ranges from the routine and ordinary to sophisticated estate planning for persons of substantial wealth. Among the more sophisticated matters he has handled are sales to defective trusts, QPRTs, ILITs, charitable remainder and lead trusts, conservation easements, trust mergers, early terminations of irrevocable trusts, contested estate administrations, asset protection entity structuring, premarital and buy-sell agreements for estate planning purposes, disclaimers of all sorts of interests and specialized 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.


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


  • Fellow, ACTEC (The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel)
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America®, (Copyright by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC)
    • Tax Law, 2013 - 2017
    • Trusts and Estates, 2013 - 2017
  • Selected to “Legal Elite,” Virginia Business, Taxes / Estates / Trusts / Elder Law, 2016
  • 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.


  • Co-Author: “Choosing a Virginia Business Entity” (Virginia CLE Handbook)

News & Events

Lecturer of CLE Seminars for Lawyers:

  • Estate Planning & Administration
  • Trusts
  • Negotiating the Purchase and Sale of a Business
  • Choice of Entity
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Highlights of the 2012 Tax Act
Professional Involvement
  • Fellow, ACTEC (The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel)
  • Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association
    • Secretary/Treasurer (1993-1994)
    • Past Chair, Wills, Trusts & Estates Committee (1997-2007)
  • Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Tax Manual Committee Chair
  • American Bar Association, Member of Sections on Taxation; Real Property, Probate and Trust
  • Virginia State Bar, Member of Sections on Taxation; Trusts and Estates
Community Involvement
  • Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation Board (2015-present)
  • Piedmont Virginia Community College Educational Foundation
    Board Member; Planned Giving Committee (2013-present)
  • Central Virginia Estate Planning Council (1997 - present; former President)
  • Thomas Jefferson Area “Leave a Legacy” Campaign
  • Charlottesville Area Planned Giving Council Board Member (2005-present)
  • University of Virginia Health Foundation, Advisory Council
  • First Presbyterian Church, Endowment Committee
Practice Areas Education

College of William and Mary School of Law
Williamsburg, Virginia
Master of Law & Taxation, 1985

College of William and Mary School of Law
Williamsburg, Virginia
J.D., 1984

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


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