William I. Sanderson Partner

Bill Sanderson represents both high-net-worth individuals and families on a variety of sensitive and complex estate and business planning matters. His practice focuses on the areas of estate planning and estate and trust administration. He is a member of the firm’s fiduciary advisory services practice.

A frequent speaker, Bill has also taught Federal Taxation Practice and Procedure at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.

Prior to completing his law degree at the University of Virginia School of Law, Bill completed coursework at the University of South Carolina School of Law. While attending the University of Virginia, Bill was a member of the Raven Society and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society.

Bill is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Since March 2022, he has served as chair of its Washington Affairs Committee.


Provided comprehensive estate, trust, tax and closely-held business planning advice to multiple generations of high net worth families.

Advised single family office operating in several states on Dodd-Frank Act compliance and related issues.

Drafted multiple grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), including GRATs holding closely held business interests and large concentrations of publicly held securities; assisted clients in managing GRAT annuity payments and terminations.

Worked with Generation X and Generation Y members of high net worth families on the legal strategies to finance, build and grow start-up businesses.

  • University of Virginia, JD, 2006
  • University of Virginia, BA, 1998

Member and Fellow; 2018-present; Vice Chair 2021-2022, Chair 2022-present, Washington Affairs Committee; The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

Business Planning Group, Section of Real Property Trust and Estate Law, ABA, (Member; Chair 2017-2019)

Member, Trust and Estate Legislative Committee Member, Virginia Bar Association

Member, Board of Directors, Epilepsy Foundation of Virginia, 2000–2003

  • German
  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia

Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers In America, Tax Law, Woodward/White, Inc., 2023

Selected for inclusion, Private Wealth Law, Band 3, District of Columbia, 2018, 2019; Private Wealth Law, Band 2, District of Columbia, 2020-2022, Chambers HNW Guide

Named to "Legal Elite," Taxes/Estates/Trusts/Elder Law, Virginia Business, 2016, 2021

Named to “Virginia Rising Stars,” Estate Planning and Probate, Closely Held Business, Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters, 2012-2016

  • Moderator, "Inside the Beltway – A Post-Election Update on Washington," Wealth Planning Scouting Report: Uncovering Tax and Fiduciary Trends to Better Plan and Prepare, Washington, D.C., November 10, 2022
  • Speaker, "Fending off the Forced Sale: How to Weave, Bob, Hop, Skip and Jump When Administering an Estate with Illiquid Assets," 73rd Annual Virginia Conference on Federal Taxation, June 2, 2022
  • Speaker, "Welcome and Introduction," New Developments in Tax and Wealth Planning: Private Wealth Services Annual Fall Seminars, October 28, 2021
  • Faculty, "The Year in Review: An Estate Planner’s Perspective of Recent Tax Developments," 40th Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, Virginia CLE, October 19, 2021
  • Speaker, "A Scouting Report: Recent Development in Federal Wealth Transfer Tax," Private Wealth Services Virtual Seminar Series, September 9, 2020
  • Speaker, "Dealing with Business Interests in Trusts," 14th Annual Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar, Wednesday, October 2, 2019
  • Speaker, "Recent Developments in Estate Planning," Baker Tilly Estate and Trust Conference, May 31, 2018
  • Speaker, "Security Issues for High-Net-Worth Families, Ethics," 12th Annual Fiduciary Advisory Services Seminar: Issues Confronting Institutional Fiduciaries, October 4, 2017
  • Speaker, "All About That Basis: What We Estate Planners Should Be Thinking About When It Comes to Income Tax," Hampton Roads Estate Planning Council, November 15, 2016
  • Moderator, "The Impact of the 2016 Elections on Taxes," Post-Election Program, McGuireWoods LLP Webinar, November 10, 2016
  • Speaker, "Lessons from Virginia Fiduciary Litigation Cases," 35th Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, October 27, 2016
  • Speaker, "Litigation Lessons to Lessen Lamenting: Practical Planning Pointers from Virginia Fiduciary Cases," Virginia CLE Trust and Estate Seminar, October 2016
  • Speaker, "Duties and Powers of the Trustee," FOX Trustees and Beneficiaries Workshop , June 22, 2016
  • Speaker, "Distribution Provisions: Understanding the Issues and Options," FOX Trustees and Beneficiaries Workshop , June 22, 2016
  • Speaker, "All About That Basis: Income Tax Aspects of Estate Planning," The Douglas W. Connor 37th Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Administration Seminar, April 30, 2016
  • Speaker, "Directed and Divided Trusteeships….and the New Uniform Directed Trustee Act," Trust Advisor’s Forum, February 22, 2016
  • Faculty, "Estate Planning in a World of Creditors and Predators: Asset Protection for Every Estate Planning Client," 34th Annual Trusts and Estates Seminar, October 20 & 28, 2015
  • Speaker, "Delegation, Directed Trustees, and Divided Trustees" and "Twenty Steps to Avoid Fiduciary Litigation (Ethics)," Be a Road Warrior, Not Road Kill: Issues Confronting Fiduciaries, October 7, 2015
  • Speaker, "Old MacDonald Has a Farm . . . With Corporate Farming Statutes Here and Special Use Valuation There, What Kind of Planning Can Old MacDonald Do?," 2015 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, Closely Held Business Committee – ABA Tax Section, Business Planning Group – ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Section, September 18, 2015
  • Speaker, "The New Paradigm of Perpetual Planning," 67th Annual Virginia Conference on Federal Taxation, June 5, 2015
  • Speaker, "It’s Just (Planning for) Marriage: Applying Decisions and Guidance About Same-Sex Marriage from Courts, Agencies, Legislatures, and Public Officials to the Contemporary Estate and Trust Practice," 43rd Annual University of Richmond Estate Planning Seminar, May 13, 2015
  • Speaker, "Forming Entities," D.C. Bar Estate Planning Update, February 9, 2015
  • Speaker, "Investment Decisions Including Issues with Closely Held Businesses Facing Trustees," "Income Tax Issues With 3.8% Supplemental Tax" and "Ethical Considerations for Professional Fiduciaries," What You Do Not Know Can Hurt You, October 7, 2014
  • Panelist, "Pre-Death and Post-Death Estate Planning for Closely Held Businesses," ABA Joint Fall Meeting, ABA Real Property, Trust and Estate Section, September 19, 2014
  • Panelist, "Recognizing the Full Scope of the Trustee Role," Southeastern Family Office Forum, September 18, 2014
  • Speaker, "Fending Off the Forced Sale: How to Weave, Bob, Hop, Skip and Jump When Administering an Estate with Illiquid Assets," The Douglas W. Conner 34th Annual Advanced Estate Planning and Administration Seminar, May 3, 2014; District of Columbia Bar Tax Section Estate Planning Committee, September 9, 2014, September 9, 2014
  • Speaker, "Drafting LLC Operating Agreements: Important Provisions for Closely-Held Businesses," District of Columbia Bar CLE Program, August 20, 2014
  • Speaker, "The Brave New World of Certainty: Is That What Estate Planning in 2014 Really Can Be?," 8th Annual Financial Forum, Financial Planning Association of Central Virginia, 8th Annual Financial Forum, June 5, 2014
  • Speaker, "Everything Old is New Again, Except Some Things That Are Just New: Recent Developments in Estate Planning, Estate and Gift Taxation, and Estate and Trust Administration," 13th Annual VSCPA Industry Conference, May 21, 2014
  • Speaker, "Who Doesn’t Want to Inherit Something? The Basics of Post-Mortem Estate Planning with Disclaimers and Assignments," District of Columbia Bar: Estates, Trust and Probate Law Series, May 15, 2014
  • Speaker, "Drafting Operating Agreements for LLCs and Other Business Entities," District of Columbia Bar CLE Program, February 18, 2014
  • Speaker, "Challenges in Trust Departments Working with Family Offices," and "Ethics Concerns for Trust Officers," Surmounting the Current Challenges: Issues Confronting Professional Fiduciaries, October 10, 2013
  • Panelist, Advising the Fiduciaries of Trusts Holding Business Interests, ABA Section of Taxation and Section of Real Property, Trust & Estate Law, 2013 Joint Fall CLE Meeting, September 20, 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
  • Speaker, "Health, Support & What? Distribution Provisions: Understanding the Issues and Options," Family Office Exchange Workshop for Grantors, Trustees and Beneficiaries, November 2011; March 2012
  • Speaker, "The Good, the Bad, and the Litigation Over Investment Concentrations," Virginia CLE Trust Administration Seminar, February 2012
  • Speaker, "The Estate Planning Toolbox: A Practical Guide for Advisors," Central Arizona Estate Planning Council, February 2012
  • Speaker, "GOTCHA Transactions in the Formation, Structure and Conveyance of Business Interests," American Bar Association RPTE-Tax Joint CLE Meeting, Fall 2011
  • Speaker, "Paying the Estate Tax from the Private Business Using Section 6166," Virginia CLE on Business Succession Planning, September 2011
  • Speaker, "Estate Planning for the Closely Held Business," William and Mary 56th Annual Tax Conference, November 2010
  • Speaker, "1-2-3 GRAT! A Practical Look at Three Days in the Life of an Essential Estate Planning Technique," Virginia Bar Association Trusts and Estates Legislative Committee Annual Meeting, January 2010
  • Speaker, "Navigating the Trustee's Duty to Disclose," ABA Joint Tax & RPTE Fall Meeting, September 2008
  • Speaker, "Putting Creativity into a Corporate Box: Selecting the Right Entity for Your Arts Business,", August 2008
  • Speaker, "Navigating the Trustee's Duty to Disclose," Trusts and Estates Seminar, August 2008
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