Stephen D. Burns

Steve focuses his law practice on guardianship and conservatorship, estate planning and administration, special needs planning, and fiduciary and contested estate disputes. He is qualified to serve as guardian ad litem and frequently serves in that capacity throughout central Virginia.
Throughout the last decade, Steve has guided hundreds of individuals and families through the guardianship and conservatorship process, prepared comprehensive estate planning documents, advised families on asset management for their special needs child, and prepared special needs trusts to protect assets and to insure adults with disabilities retain their eligibility for benefits. He regularly serves as a fiduciary for the firm’s clients – administering estates as executor or administrator, serving as conservator, and serving as trustee. As issues arise, Steve analyzes instances of fiduciary misconduct and contested estate matters.
Steve identified his passion for his practice area through the Special Olympics. His work with individuals and families in the special needs community led him, in 2012, to join a well-established law firm in Arlington that concentrated in elder law and related practice areas. The partners at this firm generously served as mentors.
Steve relocated to Richmond in 2016 so that his spouse could start her own successful business. They have three children. Even with a busy life at home and at work, Steve remains committed to the community. He has been a board member of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (VAELA) since 2016 and is co-chair of the VAELA Public Policy Committee. He tracks legislation, confers with legislators, and testifies before the General Assembly. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) recognized Steve as the 2020 Virginia Chapter Member of the Year. Steve also sits on the board for Commonwealth Community Trust, a pooled special needs trust.
Stephen D. Burns

Practice Areas

  • Elder Law & Special Needs Planning
  • Estate Planning, Fiduciary & Estate Litigation


Catholic University, Columbus School of Law (2007)  JD, cum laude

Wake Forest University (2002)

Served as a staff member and editorial assistant for The Catholic University Law Review

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Board Member and Co-Chair of Public Policy Committee

Commonwealth Community Trust Board Member

Admitted to practice in Virginia