H. Van Smith

H. Van Smith

Founder, Attorney & Counselor at Law
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  • Smith Strong, PLC
  • 5803 Staples Mill Road Richmond, VA 23228
  • 804.325.1245

H. Van Smith practices family law, estate planning, and estate/fiduciary litigation across central Virginia, including from his offices in both the Richmond metropolitan area and Williamsburg.  Van also routinely provides strategic legal counsel to business owners, elected officials, professional athletes, entrepreneurs, and political consulting firms in long-term, retained attorney-client relationships.  

His past and present clients come from all walks of life, including:

  • Will, Trust, Asset Protection, and Estate Planning to over 910+ families, such as a couple on the cusp of retirement, wanting to make sure they are prepared with their affairs in order for the next phase of life, to the young family with children providing for a guardian and special needs trust, or the retired couple wanting to protect assets; 
  • Family Law matters, including complex divorce and custody trials, including a protective order, divorce, spousal support and custody/visitation order for an abused wife of a Richmond-area doctor, and mother of two, who was cut off from financial support, upon victory at 9:30PM after an all-day trial, with the court issuing a security escort for Van so he could safely return home after threats, to the Husband that wanted to ensure his business and retirement remained intact, and the veteran of over 1,247+ other family law matters and trials
  • Estate and Fiduciary litigation clients, including will contests, POA litigation, guardianship and conservatorship actions, in a variety of situations, such as:  a daughter that cared for her mother in her final years through cancer and alzheimers only to then be sued by her mother's estranged third Husband for alleged financial theft, to the adult son of a father with dementia for guardianship and conservatorship over their father's affairs, to the children who were to receive distributions from a parent's trust, with assets totalling several hundred million, being wrongfully withheld by the trustee; and
  • Business Planning, including Operating Agreements, Registered Agents, Succession Planning, Buy-Sell Agreements for small and mid-sized businesses, as well as the discreet resolution of legal matters for corporate executives, elected officials, boards of directors, privately held businesses, and nonprofit insitutions, including:  a previous candidate for President, the adult child of a separate candidate for President, the spouse of a Virginia executive with assets totalling $500M and houses on 3 continents, a primetime national television news anchor, a consulting firm led by a former Chief of Staff to a former US Secretary of Defense, a business executive with 2 dozen franchises in 3 states, entrepeneurs of every industry.

He is the sole owner of SMITH STRONG, PLC and a member of the family law and estate planning sections of the Virginia State Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association.  Van is also a member of WealthCounsel a national organization of elite estate planning attorneys.

Each week, Van's practice preserves financial assets and protects futures as individuals and their families navigate divorce/custody transitions, estate planning through the retirement years, and elder law by avoiding impoverishment from nursing home costs.

Van has been featured several times in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Virginia Gazette, Daily Press, WRVA 1140AM, William & Mary News and UVA Today; he welcomes the opportunity to educate his community on estate planning, elder law, and family law issues in Virginia.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch Readers' Choice Awards named H. Van Smith the "Best Attorney" for 2021-2022 "The Best" Reader's Choice Awards, after 280,000 votes were cast across the Richmond metropolitan region.

Van received the highly regarded Super Lawyers' Rising Star distinction in the area of family and matrimonial law in 2014 - 2021.

Van also earned the Legal Elite designation, based on a vote of his attorney peers, by the Virginia Business magazine, for 2015 - 2021, awarded to only to 2% of attorneys in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In 2013, the Virginia legal community welcomed Van Smith’s first book in the Legal Strength Series:  The Ultimate Guide to Divorce and Custody in Virginia: Quickly Get Back to Fully Living Your Life, it's second edition published in 2019, with over 15,000 printed copies in distribution.

Attorney Van Smith and his team at Smith Strong received Avvo's Client Satisfaction Award for Family Law, including divorce and child custody matters, every year, from 2013 - 2016.

In 2016, the American Society of Legal Advocates awarded Van Smith its Top 40 Under 40 Family Lawyers in the State of Virginia distinction.

In 2015, and again in 2021, the Richmond Times-Dispatch awarded its Readers' Choice "Best Lawyer" distinction to Van.  

And the National Advocates awarded Van its prestigious Top 100 Matrimonial and Family Lawyers, a nationwide recognition.

In 2017, Attorney and Practice Magazine awarded Van its Top 10 Attorneys in Virginia in Family Law award.

Van’s practice focuses on family law matters, including divorce, related tax and business issues, custody and support plans, property distribution, integrated solutions for wealth preservation and management post-separation, collaborative law, and civil litigation.  Van also assists families with will, trust, and estate planning as well as probate matters with clients based upon his deep roots from Richmond to Williamsburg, Virginia.  Van routinely advises clients on trust analysis and administration, business and wealth succession planning, tax planning, asset preservation, and business valuation working closely with a family's accountant and financial advisor.

In 2021-22, Van is actively overseeing estate and fiduciary litigation and discreet settlement negotiations with his Smith Strong team involving estates totaling over $500 Million at issue.

Smith Strong, PLC offers a comprehensive range of family law services from advice and counseling on the most sophisticated and complex business and legal issues to negotiating agreements, mediating disputes, and litigation.

Attorney Van Smith continues to lead a free workshop on estate planning and asset protection as a community service twice a month, continuing in 2020-21 with free, live Zoom workshops.  His estate planning workshop continues to earn rave reviews, now in its seventh year.