Charles D. Fox IV Partner

Skip, a former chair of McGuireWoods' Tax & Employee Benefits Department and of the Private Wealth Services Group, is an influential voice in shaping U.S. estate tax policy and legislation, having worked for more than 25 years with groups interested in reforming the federal tax system.

He served as president of The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the nation’s premier association of trust and estate lawyers, from 2018 to 2019 and is an adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. In addition, in Chambers and Partners’ High Net Worth Guide a peer described Skip as the “voice of authority” in the private wealth community.

Skip’s practice focuses on estate planning, trust and estate administration, and charitable organizations. His clients include families with closely held businesses and advising families and investment managers on the appropriate use of family offices. His experience also includes audits of estate tax returns involving unique assets such as art; trust and estate litigation; and the operation of public and private charities. He has worked extensively with corporate fiduciaries on a variety of issues.

As general counsel for the advocacy organization Policy and Taxation Group, he helped lead research for a study that was instrumental in persuading Congress to enact estate tax reforms in 2001. He also advises and consults with other law firms on substantive estate planning issues and the administration of their practices.

Skip serves on the faculty of the National Trust School and the National Graduate Trust School, where he has taught many of the leaders of trust organizations throughout the country for over 30 years. He served on the editorial board of Trusts & Estates magazine and chaired the board of Trust & Investments, two leading industry publications. He has written or co-written seven books and numerous articles for many different publications. He has co-presented the American Bankers Association’s monthly teleconferences on trusts and estates topics since 2000 and co-wrote a monthly column on tax subjects for the ABA Trust Newsletter for 18 years.

Skip is an emeritus member of the CCH Estate Planning Advisory Committee.

He lectures annually around the country at seminars on estate planning and trust administration for banks, trust associations, estate planning councils, tax institutes, bar associations and other organizations, including the University of Miami Heckerling Estate Planning Institute and the Notre Dame Estate Planning Institute.

Skip served as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University Law School from 1983-2005. He serves or has served on the boards of several charities including the University of Virginia Law School Foundation and the Episcopal High School in Virginia, from which he received the Distinguished Service Award in 2001. He also is chair emeritus of the Duke University Estate Planning Council and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Heckerling Estate Planning Institute.


Represented families with assets ranging from less than a million dollars in value to over two billion in value in all aspects of estate planning with a focus on first learning what the family members want and only then determining the most tax efficient way to accomplish the family members’ wishes.

Represented estates of decedents with difficult to value assets in IRS audits when IRS sought to impose millions of dollars in additional tax.

Represented families in the succession of ownership and control from one generation to the next.

Represented numerous public and private charities in all aspects from organization, to obtaining tax exempt status, in dealing with donors, to termination.

  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, 1980
  • Yale University, MA, 1977
  • Princeton University, AB, Concentration in Russian Studies, with Distinction, 1975

Immediate Past President, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, 2019 – 2020.

Member, Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, American Bar Association

Member; President, 2018-2019; President-Elect, 2017-2018; Vice President, 2016-2017; Treasurer, 2015-2016;  Secretary, 2014-2015; Regent, 2006-2012, 2014-; Co-chair, Legal Education Committee, 2002-2005; Editor, ACTEC Journal, 2005-2006; Chair, Editorial Board, 2008-2009; Chair, Communications Committee, 2010-2011; Member, Communications Committee, Estate and Gift Tax Committee, Legal Education Committee and Program Committee, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Member, CCH Financial and Estate Planning Advisory Board, 2004-2017

Member, Central Virginia Estate Planning Council, 2006-present

Member, Chicago Estate Planning Council, 1990-2005

Member, 1986-present; Chair, 2008-2013; Chair Emeritus, 2013-, Duke University Estate Planning Council

Chair, Economics of the Practice Subcommittee, 1993-1997; Member, Editorial Board, 1996-2001, Trusts and Estates Magazine

Member, Editorial Board, 2001-2003; Chair, Editorial Board, 2003-2012, Trust and Investments Magazine

  • Speaker, "Recent Developments/New Tax Laws" and "Ethics Involving Fiduciaries and Closely Held Businesses," 13th Annual Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar: Opportunities for Fiduciaries in Times of Change, October 3, 2018
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments/New Tax Laws," 12th Annual Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar: Issues Confronting Institutional Fiduciaries, October 4, 2017
  • Speaker, "Recent Tax Developments," 11th Annual Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar, October 5, 2016
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments," Be a Road Warrior, Not Road Kill: Issues Confronting Fiduciaries, October 7, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, July 14, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, Ohio State Bar, June 25, 2015
  • Speaker, Tales from the Crypt, Alabama Tax Institute, June 24, 2015
  • Speaker, "Critical Concepts in Understanding Community Property vs. Common Law," American Bar Association Teleconference, June 4, 2015
  • Speaker, Family, Finances, & the Future, Creating a Legacy Through Gift Planning, Charlottesville Area Planned Giving Council, May 29, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, Who is A Descendant?, Current Charitable Issues and Ethical Considerations in Acting as a Trustee or Executor or Representing a Trustee or Executor, Parkersburg, May 27, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments; Advanced Planning; Fiduciary Income Tax; Ethics, Star Bank, May 19, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, Fiduciary Litigation, Advanced Estate Planning, West Virginia Bankers, May 14, 2015
  • Speaker, "Recent Updates, Ethics, and Discretionary Distribution Decisions," Fiduciary Education Foundation Convention, May 13, 2015
  • Speaker, Being a Philanthropist; Donor Advised Funds vs Private Foundations vs. Outright Gifts, Central Arizona EPC, May 11, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, University of Virginia Law School, May 8, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, UCLA/CEB Estate Planning Institute, May 1, 2015
  • Speaker, Recent Developments, Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, April 24, 2015
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments," Kansas City Estate Planning Symposium, April 23, 2015
  • Speaker, "Show Me the Money: The Focus of States of Tax Revenues and Its Impact on Estate Planning," American Bar Association Teleconference, April 2, 2015
  • Speaker, "Ethical Challenges for Trust Professionals," American Bar Association Teleconference, March 5, 2015
  • Speaker, Ethics, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, March 5, 2015
  • Speaker, "Ethics in Estate and Trust Administration," Trust Advisors Forum, February 24, 2015
  • Speaker, "Monticello," Planned Giving, February 16, 2015
  • Speaker, "Hot Button Tax Issues for the IRS," American Bar Association Teleconference, February 5, 2015
  • Speaker, "Welcome and Introduction" and "Recent Developments In Tax," What You Do Not Know Can Hurt You, October 7, 2014
  • Speaker, "Onshore or Offshore: An Update on Asset Protection Strategies," New Developments in Tax and Wealth Planning, Wednesday, October 30, 2013
  • Speaker, "Recent Tax Developments" and "Planning in Light of the 2012 Tax Act," Surmounting the Current Challenges: Issues Confronting Professional Fiduciaries, October 10, 2013
  • Speaker, "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, What Is Happening to the Estate Tax in 2013 – If at All?," 16th Annual Charitable Planning Seminar, The Dallas Foundation, January 25, 2013
  • Speaker, Who’s on First? Issues Confronting Professional Fiduciaries, The Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar, co-presented by the Fiduciary Education Center, October 9, 2012
  • Illinois
  • Virginia

Fellow, American Bar Foundation

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Litigation – Trusts & Estates, Tax Law, Trusts & Estate, Woodward/White, Inc., 2002-2022

Named a "Notable Practitioner," Private Wealth Law, Band 1, District of Columbia and Nationwide, 2016, 2017; Private Wealth Law, Band 1, Virginia, 2018-2021; Private Wealth Law, Band 2, Eastern U.S., 2018-2021; Chambers HNW Guide

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Estate Planning and Probate, Administrative Law, Tax, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006-2020

Named "Lawyer of the Year," Trusts and Estates, 2012, 2015, 2017; Tax Law, 2016, 2018, Charlottesville, Best Lawyers in America, Woodward/White, Inc.

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

Selected for inclusion in America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Wealth Management: Eastern Region, Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2009-2016

Elected to National Association of Estate Planners and Councils Estate Planning Hall of Fame and Given Designation of Distinguished Accredited Estate Planner, 2008

Named to "Illinois Super Lawyers," Estate Planning and Probate, Administrative Law, Tax, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2002-2005

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