Stephen W. Murphy Partner

Steve is the co-chair of McGuireWoods’ private wealth services group. He helps clients and families develop estate plans that navigate complex issues, including tax planning. He also advises fiduciaries and beneficiaries regarding the administration of estates and trusts, including modifying trusts, managing investments, and avoiding or litigating disputes. A frequent writer and speaker, Steve teaches courses on trusts and estates at the University of Virginia School of Law.

He regularly lectures and publishes on a variety of legal topics relating to estate planning and trust and estate administration, including the modification of irrevocable trusts, investments and the Prudent Investor Rule, the use of arbitration clauses in wills and trusts, estate planning for owners of closely-held businesses, and issues related to income tax, estate tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax.

Steve is an editor or contributor for a number of textbooks or other resources on the law of trusts and estates, including fiduciary income tax, trust and estate administration, Virginia trust and estate law, and domestic asset protection trusts.

He is a lecturer in law at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he teaches “Trust & Estate Administration” and the advanced seminar, “Estate Planning: Principles & Practice.”  He has also served as an adjunct professor at the Washington & Lee University School of Law.

He received his J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was an editor of the Virginia Law Review and received the Ritter Award for “honor, character, and integrity.”

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Trusts and Estates, 2023, Woodward/White, Inc.

Named to "Virginia Rising Stars," Estate & Probate, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020

  • University of Virginia School of Law, JD, Order of the Coif, Editorial Board Member, Virginia Law Review, 2010
  • University of Virginia, PhD, Religious Studies, 2008
  • University of Cambridge, MPhil, Theological Studies, 2002
  • University of Maryland, BA, History and Classics, with Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, 2001

Fellow, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, 2021-present

  • Speaker, "International Estate Planning," Wealth Planning Scouting Report: Uncovering Tax and Fiduciary Trends to Better Plan and Prepare, Washington, D.C., November 10, 2022
  • Speaker, "Ethical Issues Facing Trusts & Estates Lawyers," Virginia CLE 41st Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, Williamsburg, VA, October 27, 2022 and Fairfax, VA, October 31, 2022
  • Speaker, "Trust and Estate Scouting Report," Security National Bank Annual Conference, Sioux City, Iowa, October 13, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Hunter M. Glenn), "Opportunities and Pitfalls for Estate Planning by Spouses," Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association CLE, September 28, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Jodie Herrmann Lawson), "Electronic Wills and Remote Signatures," American Bankers Association Teleconference, August 11, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Thomas W. Abendroth), "The Life Cycle of an Estate Plan, Part III: Irrevocable Trust Modification," American Bankers Association Teleconference, June 2, 2022
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Trusts and Estates," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Law Alumni Weekend, University of Virginia School of Law, May 13, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Thomas W. Abendroth, David C. Blickenstaff, Keri D. Brown, and Benjamin S. Candland), "Fiduciary Litigation Update," American Bankers Association Teleconference, May 5, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Thomas W. Abendroth), "The Life Cycle of an Estate Plan, Part II: Updating the Estate Plan to Reflect Life’s Changes," American Bankers Association Teleconference, April 7, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Thomas W. Abendroth), "Tax Legislation 2021: What Happened and What Almost Happened," American Bankers Association Teleconference, March 3, 2022
  • Co-Presenter (with Thomas W. Abendroth), "The Life Cycle of an Estate Plan, Part I: The Dynamic Nature of Wealth and Estate Plans," American Bankers Association Teleconference, February 3, 2022
  • Speaker, "Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax: Opportunities and Pitfalls," New Developments in Tax and Wealth Planning: Private Wealth Services Annual Fall Seminars, October 21, 2021
  • Speaker, "Planning for the GST Tax: Opportunities and Challenges," Security National Bank Annual Conference, Sioux City, Iowa, October 14, 2021
  • Speaker, What is Portability for Estate and Gift Tax?, ACTEC Family Estate Planning Guide, August 26, 2021
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Trusts and Estates," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Law Alumni Weekend, University of Virginia School of Law, May 14, 2021
  • Speaker, "Planning for the Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax," Conner-Zaritsky 42nd Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Administration Seminar, Webcast, April 29, 2021
  • Presenter, "Today's Role of Settlor Intent," Telephone Briefing, American Bankers Association, June 4, 2020
  • Speaker, "Why Trust Situs is Important," New Developments in Wealth Planning, Richmond, VA, October 24, 2019
  • Speaker, "Tips to Avoid Becoming the Subject of Fiduciary Litigation," Virginia CLE 38th Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, Fairfax, VA, October 21, 2019
  • Speaker, "Trust Situs Selection Considerations," New Developments in Tax and Wealth Planning, Charlotte, NC, September 12, 2019
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Trusts and Estates," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Law Alumni Weekend, University of Virginia School of Law, May 10, 2019
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning under Current Law: Challenges and Opportunities," Chase Investment Counsel 46th Annual Investor Conference, April 24, 2019
  • Speaker, "Dealing with the Family Trust: Challenges and Opportunities," Central Virginia Estate Planning Council, February 7, 2019
  • Co-presenter, "Fiduciary Litigation Updates," In-House Continuing Education Webinar for Bank and Corporate Trustees, December 12, 2018
  • Presenter, "Modifying, Restructuring, and Terminating Irrevocable Trusts," Roanoke Valley Estate Planning Council, December 5, 2018
  • Co-presenter, "Fixing the Broken Trust: Modifying, Restructuring and Terminating Irrevocable Trusts," Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association CLE, November 14, 2018
  • Speaker, "What Every Estate Planner Should Know about Asset Protection," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, DC Bar, Washington, DC, DC Bar, Washington, DC, September 24, 2018
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Trusts and Estates," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Law Alumni Weekend, University of Virginia School of Law, May 11, 2018
  • Co-presenter, "Estate Planning with Portability: Opportunities and Strategies," Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association CLE, November 29, 2017
  • Co-presenter, "Avoiding Fiduciary Litigation," In-House Continuing Education Webinar for Bank and Corporate Trustees, August 17, 2017
  • Co-presenter, "Repairing Broken Trusts," Webcredenza, June 21, 2017
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Trusts and Estates," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Law Alumni Weekend, University of Virginia School of Law, May 12, 2017
  • Speaker, "Lessons from Virginia Fiduciary Litigation Cases," 35th Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, October 18, 2016
  • Co-presenter, "Trust Decanting," In-House Continuing Education Webinar for Bank and Corporate Trustees, September 1, 2016
  • Presenter, "Charitable Trusts," National Business Institution Seminar, August 18, 2016
  • Presenter, "Generating-Skipping Transfer Taxes and Dynasty Trusts," National Business Institution Seminar, August 18, 2016
  • Co-presenter, "Trust Distributions: Planning and Navigating Discretionary Standards and Distributions," Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association CLE, April 27, 2016
  • Co-presenter, "Asset Protection in Estate Planning and Trust and Estate Administration," Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association CLE, November 18, 2015
  • Faculty, "The Probate Process from Start to Finish: Probate Disputes and Litigation, and Handling Claims Against the Estate," National Business Institute Continuing Legal Education Seminar, October 27, 2015
  • Faculty, "Estate Planning in a World of Creditors and Predators: Asset Protection for Every Estate Planning Client," 34th Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, October 22, 2015
  • Co-presenter, "Uniform Prudent Investor Act: What Fiduciaries and Planners Should Know," In-House Continuing Education Webinar for Bank and Corporate Trustees, October 15, 2015
  • Co-presenter, "Uniform Prudent Investor Act, Uniform Principal and Income Act, Third Restatement Trusts: What All Estate Planners Need to Know," National Business Institute National Teleconference, June 19, 2015
  • Co-presenter, "Uniform Principal and Income Act: What Fiduciaries and Planners Should Know," In-House Continuing Education Webinar for Bank and Corporate Trustees, June 16, 2015
  • Speaker, Federal Fiduciary Income Tax Workshop, Foxmoor Continuing Education, November 21, 2014
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Trusts and Estates," Continuing Legal Education Seminar, Law Alumni Weekend, University of Virginia School of Law, May 9, 2014
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