Ronald D. Aucutt Partner

Ronald D. Aucutt is a partner in the Tysons Corner, Virginia office of McGuireWoods LLP and is the chair emeritus of the firm's Private Wealth Services Group. Ron's career has focused on planning and controversy matters involving the estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes, the income taxation of trusts and estates, and the rules regarding tax-exempt organizations and charitable contributions.

He has extensive experience in assisting clients with the transfer of wealth from one generation to another, particularly including the orderly and tax-efficient succession of family-owned businesses. He also advises lawyers and other professionals on tax planning and controversy issues across the entire spectrum of estate planning and charitable giving, including the complex rules governing generation-skipping transfers under chapter 13 and the special valuation rules under chapter 14 of the Internal Revenue Code. He is experienced in resolving tax issues through rulings in the Internal Revenue Service’s National Office and in administrative appeals throughout the country. He has contributed to the formation of tax policy through legislation since 1976, as well as in Treasury regulations, has served as an expert witness in estate and gift tax matters, and served on the Internal Revenue Service Advisory Council from January 2015 to November 2016, including two years as chair of its “OPR Subgroup” (working with the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility). He was appointed in 2015 to be the Reporter for the current revision of the Uniform Principal and Income Act.

Ron was recognized as one of Washington’s 31 “Best Lawyers” in the December 2011 issue of Washingtonian and as one of the top 30 “Stars of the Bar” in the December 2009 issue of Washingtonian; he holds Chambers USA’s “Band 1” ranking for Wealth Management; and he was elected to the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils Estate Planning Hall of Fame and given the designation of Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner in 2009. He was awarded the 1995-1996 Estate Planner of the Year Award by the Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council. His biography appears in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and Who’s Who in the World. He is also listed in the Best Lawyers in America.

Ron is a Fellow and former President (2003-04) of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), an academician of The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law and former member of its Council (2000-04), a former Vice Chair (Committee Operations) of the American Bar Association’s Section of Taxation (1998-2000), a Fellow of the American College of Tax Counsel and the American Bar Foundation, and a member of the Christian Legal Society. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee of the University of Miami Philip E. Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, the Advisory Board of the Florida Tax Institute, and Tax Management’s Advisory Board on Estates, Gifts, and Trusts. Ron received a B.A. degree in 1967 and a J.D. degree in 1975, both from the University of Minnesota. He has been a lecturer in law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He has lectured on estate planning subjects at over 100 tax institutes and conferences nationwide and is the author of more than 150 published articles on estate planning and other tax subjects. He is co-author of Structuring Estate Freezes, published by Warren, Gorham & Lamont and supplemented twice a year.

Ron was in the Navy from 1970 to 1973. He served in Vietnam and achieved the rank of lieutenant.


Assistance to wealthy clients in transferring sufficient wealth through grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), sales to grantor trusts, and life insurance trusts tax-free during their lives that they can leave their entire estates, or at least their residuary estates, at death to charity, thereby achieving significant charitable objectives and avoiding an estate tax audit.

Representation of clients in obtaining favorable letter rulings from the National Office of the Internal Revenue Service on subjects including the division, reformation, or early termination of long-term trusts with assets valued in excess of $100 million, the succession of a long-term trust by a limited liability company to continue a business with assets valued in excess of $1 billion, the overlap between the charitable and marital estate tax deductions in a flexible estate plan, the conversion of a marital trust to a graduated “unitrust,” the elaboration of the exception in Treasury regulations from the special valuation rules applicable to stock repurchase agreements when less than half of the stock is owned by family members, and permission to file a Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Acquired From a Decedent, after its January 17, 2012, due date.

Assistance to lawyers and accountants nationwide in obtaining rulings, audit or appeal results, or other favorable outcomes from the Internal Revenue Service.

Prevention of the issuance of overly burdensome Treasury or IRS guidance through public and private participation in the comment process.

Assistance in the formation of private trust companies despite the lack of Treasury-IRS guidance.

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Tax Court

Recipient, Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, Marquis Who's Who, 2018

Named a "Notable Practitioner," Private Wealth Law, Band 1, District of Columbia and Nationwide, 2016, 2017; "Senior Statesmen," Private Wealth Law, Band 1, Eastern U.S., 2018; Chambers HNW Guide

Recognized in "Readers Choice Awards", Top Read Article, Estate Planning, “Estate Tax Changes Past, Present and Future,” JD Supra, 2016

Named a "Divorce, Trusts and Estates Trailblazer," The National Law Journal, 2016

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation & Controversy – Tax, Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates, Woodward/White, Inc., 2005-2019

Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Wealth Management: Eastern Region, Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2008-2011, 2013-2016

Named to "Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers," Tax, Estate Planning and Probate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2007-2013, 2016-2017

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Tax, Estate Planning and Probate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006-2017

Named to "Legal Elite," Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law, Virginia Business, 2006, 2009-2012, 2015, 2016

Named one of 12 to “Top Trusts and Estates Lawyers,” Washington, D.C. Area, Legal Times, September 27, 2004

Named to “Top Washington Lawyers,” Washington Business Journal, September 10-16, 2004

Named to prestigious list of top financial professionals, "Finding Good Financial Help," The Washingtonian, December 2002

Selected to deliver the annual Joseph Trachtman Memorial Lecture at the 2011 annual meeting of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Selected for inclusion in Who's Who in America, 1999-2011, Who's Who in American Law, 1992-2011, and Who's Who in the World, 1997-2011, Marquis Who's Who

Named one of 45 "Best Trusts and Estates Lawyers in the U.S." Town & Country Magazine, August 1998

Named to "Washington's Best Lawyers," Washingtonian Magazine, 1997, 2013

Recipient, Estate Planner of the Year Award, Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council, 1995-1996

  • University of Minnesota Law School, JD, magna cum laude, 1975
  • University of Minnesota, BA, summa cum laude, 1967

Member; 1976-present; Vice Chair, Committee Operations of the Section of Taxation, 1998-2000; Chair, Committee on Estate and Gift Taxes of the Section of Taxation, 1986-1988; Chair, Committee on Government Submissions of the Section of Taxation, 1991-1993, American Bar Association

Fellow, American College of Tax Counsel, 1993-present

Fellow, 1988-present; President, 2003-2004; Regent, 1996-2005; Chair, Business Planning Committee, 1997-2000, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Academician, 1993-present; Member, Executive Council, 2001-2004, The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law

Member, The Bar Association of the District of Columbia, 1984-present

Member, Advisory Committee, University of Miami Philip E. Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, 1999-present

Member, Advisory Board, Tax Management Estates, Gifts and Trusts Journal, 1999-present

Member, Board of Regents, Trinity International University, 1993-1997, 2000-2006, 2007-2009

Member, Board of Visitors, University of Minnesota Law School, 1998-2004

Moderator, 1995-1997, 2007-2009; Vice Moderator and Chairman of the Board of Directors, 1993-1995, Member of the Board of Directors, 1986-1992, 1993-1997, 2007-2011, Evangelical Free Church of America

Member, Christian Legal Society, 1998-present

Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 1993-present

OSCE International Observer, Bulgarian Parliamentary Elections, April 19, 1997

Back to top