Michele A. W. McKinnon


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  • William & Mary Law School, LLM, 1992
  • University of Richmond School of Law, JD, magna cum laude, Member, University of Richmond Law Review, 1985
  • University of Virginia, BA, 1982
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. Tax Court

Member and Fellow; Virginia State Chair, 2008-2013; Charitable Planning & Exempt Organizations Committee, 2009-2012, American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel

Taxation Section Member, Fiduciary Income Tax Committee, American Bar Association

Member, Real Property, Probate & Trust Section, American Bar Association

Member; Chairman, 1999-2000; Vice Chairman, 1998-1999; Secretary, 1997-1998, Trusts and Estates Section, Virginia State Bar

Member, Richmond Bar Association

Member, Virginia Bar Association

Member, Partnership for Philanthropic Planning

Member, Virginia Gift Planning Council

Member, University of Richmond Estate Planning Advisory Council

Member, National Association of Colleges and University Attorneys

Director, 2001-2009, The Community Foundation, Richmond, Virginia

Director, Missionary Emergency Fund

Director and Chairman, The Steward School Foundation

Director, Vice Chair, Chair, Audit and Governance Committee; Member, Investment Committee, and Member, Personnel Committee, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation

Member, Charitable Advisors, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Member, Planned Giving Advisory Council, St. Christopher’s School

Member, Nonprofit Advisory Committee, Community Tax Law Project

Michele serves as the chair of the firm’s nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations practice team. With more than 25 years of experience, Michele routinely represents many public charities, major colleges and universities, supporting organizations, large private foundations, and charitable trusts on a variety of federal tax and governance matters. She assists tax-exempt organizations in all aspects of compliance with the federal tax laws, as well as with governance, endowment and investment matters. Her practice includes advice on compliance with the excess benefit transaction rules and the private foundation rules, including self-dealing, excess business holding, and taxable expenditure issues, participation in joint ventures, and consequences of unrelated trade or business activities. She also assists these organizations in dealing with the IRS in tax controversy matters and compliance audits.

Her work also includes structuring planned gifts to charitable organizations, including the use of charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, charitable gift annuities and conservation easements. She also works in the areas of estate planning, and estate and trust administration, handling the administration of large complex estates, fiduciary income tax matters, fiduciary litigation, and risk management for corporate trust departments.

Michele is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and served as the immediate past Virginia State Chair of the organization. She also currently sits on its Charitable Planning & Exempt Organizations Committee. She is also a member of the Fiduciary Income Tax Committee of the Tax Section of the American Bar Association. She is a former chair of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Virginia State Bar.

While earning her law degree at the University of Richmond, Michele was a member of the McNeill Law Society.

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Michele A W McKinnon
T: +1 804 775 1060F: +1 804 698 2115Gateway Plaza
800 East Canal Street
Richmond, VA 23219-3916

Implementation of numerous planned gifts, including charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, gift annuities, and gifts of remainder interests in personal residences, including related gift documents and plans to meet unique donor objectives.

Establishment of and advice to numerous family and corporate private foundations regarding self-dealing, excess business holding, jeopardy investment, minimum distribution, and taxable expenditure rules. Requests for IRS rulings on tax classification changes, including conversions to private foundation, publicly supported organization, and Type I, II, or III supporting organization.

Advice on unrelated business income tax issues, including affinity card agreements, debt-financed income, and gift shop sales.

Preparation of planned giving forms for a number of educational institutions and corporate fiduciaries.

Legal, tax, and governance compliance audits for several university-affiliated foundations and a large national membership organization.

Excess benefit transaction advice in connection with executive compensation of chief executive and other officers of universities and other public charities and sales transactions involving substantial contributors to public charities.

Planning and implementation of sale and gift of major art collection valued at more than $40 million to museum-affiliated foundation.

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

Named "Lawyer of the Year," Trusts and Estates, The Best Lawyers in America, 2018

Named a "Divorce, Trusts and Estates Trailblazer," The National Law Journal, 2017

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

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Non-Profit/Charities Law, Trusts and Estates, Woodward/White, Inc., 2007-2018

Named to "Virginia Super Lawyers," Non-Profit, Tax, Estate Planning & Probate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2006, 2012-2013, 2015-2017

Author, "Charitable Giving in Uncertain Times," ABA Trusts & Investments, January/February 2011
Author, "U.S. Charities," Chapter in Investment Management-Law and Practice, 2010
Co-author, "The Globalization of Philanthropy: International Charitable Giving In The Twenty - First Century," Real Property Trust and Estate Law Journal, Vol. 45, Number 3, Winter 2010
Co-author, "New Scrutiny of College and University Executive Compensation and Unrelated Business Activity," Journal of College and University Law, Vol. 37, No. 1, December 2010
Author, "Madoff’s Unintended Legacy to Charities," ABA Trusts & Investments, July/August 2009
Author, "Chapter 6: Tax Planning," Estate Planning in Virginia, 2007
Author, "Charitable Legislation: New Territory for the Nonprofit Sector," ABA Trusts & Investments, Sept./Oct. 2007
Speaker, "Philanthropy: Impact of Taxes and other Motivating Factors on Donors," 13th Annual Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar; Opportunities for Fiduciaries in Times of Change, October 3, 2018
Speaker, "Tax Reform and the Impact on Tax-Exempt Organizations," Essential Insight on Sweeping Tax Reforms, February 1, 2018
Panelist, Tax Reform Behind the Headlines; Challenges and Opportunities for Charities, McGuireWoods LLP Webinar, June 6, 2017
Speaker, Managing Relationships: Best Practices for Working with Service Providers, McGuireWoods LLP and The Regulatory Fundamentals Group, July 2016
Speaker, "Tax Classification of Charitable Organizations: Public Charities, Private Foundations, and Donor Advised Funds," "Unrelated Business Taxable Income: Case Studies," "Drafting Effective Gift Agreements" and "Charitable Remainder and Charitable Lead Trusts: A Primer," 13th Annual Nonprofit Seminar – Staying Current and Avoiding Trouble: What Nonprofits Need to Know, September - October 2015
Speaker, "Issues with Proprietary Funds," Be a Road Warrior, Not Road Kill: Issues Confronting Fiduciaries, October 2015
Co-Speaker, "Restricted Charitable Gifts: Draft Agreements that Stand the Test of Time," 49th Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning, January 2015
Moderator and Co-Speaker, "Current Tax Developments Affecting Nonprofits," "Impact of Tax Reform Proposals on Nonprofits," and "ACT Recommendations for the Unrelated Business Income Tax," 12th Annual Nonprofit Seminar - Charities: More Change on the Horizon?, September - October, 2014
Speaker, "Charitable Trusts: Tax Classification Under the 2012 Type III Supporting Organization Final and Temporary Regulations," Surmounting the Current Challenges: Issues Confronting Professional Fiduciaries, October 2013
Co-speaker, "Current Tax Developments," "The Role of the Board of Directors – General Governance and Major Events" and "Best Practices in Planned Giving and Gift Management," 11th Annual Nonprofit Seminar: Best Practices in Nonprofit Management, September and October 2013
Faculty, "After the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012," Charitable Planning in 2013, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, February 2013
Speaker, "Substantiation of Charitable Gifts," Virginia Gift Planning Council, December 2012
Speaker, "Current Tax Developments Affecting Nonprofits," and "Substantiation of Charitable Gifts and Charitable Solicitation Registration," 10th Annual Nonprofit Seminar: Regulatory and Legal Challenges Facing Nonprofits, September - October 2012
Panelist, "Nonprofits: Tax Classification and Governance," WebCredenza Teleseminar, March 2012
Moderator, "Your Seat at the Table – Being the Lawyer on a Non-Profit Board," WMACCA Corporate Governance Conference: The Well-Run Board, March 2012
Speaker and Panelist, "Charitable Contribution Developments; Exempt Organization Developments; Investment and Endowment Management for Nonprofits; and, Unrelated Business Income Tax: A Trap for the Unwary," 9th Annual Nonprofit Seminar, October 2011
Speaker, "Global Philanthropy," ACTEC Charitable Planning Committee, October 2011
Speaker, "Charitable Contribution Fiascos," Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar: The Changed Environment for Corporate Fiduciaries: How to Successfully Meet the Challenges, McGuireWoods LLP, October 2011
Speaker, "Protecting the Donor’s Charitable Deduction," Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Charitable Advisors, September 2011
Speaker, "Creative and Practical Planning with Private Foundations," ALI-ABA Sophisticated Estate Planning, September 2011
Panelist, "Duties and Liabilities of Nonprofit Directors and Officers," WebCredenza Teleseminar, May 2011
Panelist, "Family Foundation Case Study," ACTEC Annual Meeting, March 2011
Speaker, "Current Developments Affecting Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving," December 2010
Speaker, "Current Developments Affecting Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving," Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar - Issues Facing Corporate Fiduciaries: Going Boldly (Blindly) into a Brave New World, McGuireWoods LLP & Fiduciary Education Center, LLC, October 2010
Speaker, "Tax and Legal Update," Finance Administration Roundtable, June 2010
Panelist, "Selecting the Best Charitable Donee: Public Charity, Donor Advised Fund, or Private Foundation," ACTEC Annual Meeting, March 2010
Speaker, "Creative Uses of Charitable Remainder and Charitable Lead Trusts," Hampton Roads Estate Planning Council, January 2010
Speaker, "Creative Charitable Giving in Times of Economic Uncertainty," Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of the Blue Ridge, December 2009
Speaker, "Charitable Update," How to Successfully Deal With the New Challenges Facing a Corporate Fiduciary, McGuireWoods LLP & The Fiduciary Education Center, November 2009
Speaker, "Private Foundation Requirements and Restrictions," Lorman Educational Services, November 2009
Speaker, "Thinking Outside the Box: Innovative Charitable Giving in an Uncertain Economy," Duke University Estate Planning Conference, October 2009
Speaker, "The New Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act," Yount, Hyde & Barbour Nonprofit Symposium, June 2009
Speaker, "The New Form 990 and Current Developments for Nonprofits," Virginia YMCA, February 2009
Speaker, "The New Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act," Virginia Gift Planning Council, January 2009
Speaker, "Creative Uses of Charitable Remainder and Charitable Lead Trusts," McGuireWoods Fiduciary Advisory Services, November 2008
Speaker, "Current Developments Affecting Nonprofits and Form 990 and Good Governance," NSBA Council of School Attorneys State Association Counsel Meeting, November 2008
Speaker, "The New Form 990," Southeastern Council on Foundation Health Legacy CEO Assembly, March 2008
Speaker, "The 2006 Charitable Legislation: Navigating Uncharted Waters," 59th Annual Conference on Federal Taxation, June 2007
Charities and Mission Investing, December 18, 2015
Cat Lady Beats IRS, June 14, 2011
IRS Starts University Audits, January 29, 2010
Haitian Disaster Relief, January 19, 2010
Madoff's Unintended Legacy to Charities, http://www.mcguirewoods.com/news-resources/publications/taxation/madoffs%20unintended%20legacy.pdf, June 17, 2009
Exempt Organization Update, April 30, 2008