J. William Gray, Jr.

J. William Gray, Jr.

T: 804.799.7850
F: 804.799.7868

Mr. Gray's practice focuses on nonprofit, tax-exempt and charitable advisory services, estate planning, charitable giving, trust and estate administration, and fiduciary litigation.
Mr. Gray is a founding director and former president of the Virginia Gift Planning Council, a former director of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, and a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel. He also serves on the Virginia Bar Association committee that reviews and drafts state legislation pertaining to trusts and estates, and has published annual updates on trusts and estates legislation and Virginia Supreme Court decisions for over thirty years.

He is a frequent speaker in state and national programs, including those sponsored by professional groups, the Nonprofit Learning Point, the University of Richmond Institute of Philanthropy, and various community groups, on such topics as charitable giving, estate planning, forming nonprofits, lobbying and advocacy, and ongoing compliance issues.


  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America, Non-Profit/Charities Law, Tax Law, Trusts and Estates, Woodward/White, Inc., 2018-2019
  • Selected for inclusion in “Super Lawyers,” Virginia Super Lawyers magazine, 2008-present
  • Selected for inclusion in “Legal Elite,” Virginia Business magazine, 2006-present
  • Leaders in the Law, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, Class of 2015

Memberships & Activities

  • Fellow: The American College of Trust & Estate Counsel
  • Past Board Member: National Association of Charitable Gift Planners
  • Founding Director and Former President: Virginia Gift Planning Council
  • Director (Chair 2008-2011): Virginia Network of Nonprofit Organizations (VANNO), 2006-2011
  • Member: American Bar Association, Taxation Section, Exempt Organizations Committee; Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section
  • Formed numerous charities, business leagues, social welfare organizations, title-holders and other exempt entities, and obtained federal, state and local tax exemptions for them.
  • Assisted charities in obtaining definitive or advance rulings on public charity status and regaining that status after tentative adverse rulings by the IRS.
  • Advised private foundations on applicable reporting criteria, self-dealing prohibitions, income distribution rules, investment restrictions, expenditure limitations and termination guidelines, as well as the substantial excise taxes used to enforce them.
  • Counseled charities on planned giving, gift acceptance policies, professional fundraiser contracts, donor advised funds, state solicitation rules, charitable deduction substantiation issues, non-deductibility standards and other tax reporting and disclosure issues.
  • Created exempt and taxable affiliates for hospitals, educational institutions, trade associations and other exempt entities; advised on unrelated business tax issues and structured joint ventures and commercial co-ventures with other exempt organizations and for-profit entities.
  • Advised charities and their directors on private inurement and intermediate sanctions issues, uses of endowments and other restricted gifts, and questions involving corporate governance and fiduciary duties.
  • Advised business clients on rules governing their commercial transactions with charities, trade associations and other tax-exempt parties.
  • Addressed client and professional groups on such topics as planned giving, unrelated business income tax, intermediate sanctions, private foundations and alternatives, wills and trusts, augmented estate and probate rules, and fiduciary duty issues.
  • Advised charities on rules governing investment and expenditure of endowments and other restricted funds and secured the release or modification of outmoded restrictions.
  • Advised individual clients on transfer tax reduction, probate avoidance, post-mortem planning with disclaimers and elections, and suits to construe or modify wills and trusts.