Wayne M. Zell

Phone: (703) 218-2177
Fax: (703) 218-2160
Blog: Blue Print for Wealth
Practice Areas

Wayne M. Zell

Phone: (703) 218-2177
Fax: (703) 218-2160
Blog: Blue Print for Wealth
Practice Areas

Wayne Zell’s extensive background as an attorney, CPA, and entrepreneur provide him a wealth of insight to his clients’ business operations and challenges.  For over 32 years, Wayne has counseled clients as an attorney, accountant, and business advisor in a wide range of industries, including technology, government contracting, real estate, retailing, and wealth management, with a special emphasis on tax and business planning. His clients also include corporate executives, service providers, and high-net worth individuals.

He has extensive experience in representing clients in complex estate planning, tax, and business planning transactions and matters. On estate planning matters, Wayne routinely advises clients in structuring and preparing intricate revocable and irrevocable trusts, family limited partnerships and limited liability companies, life insurance vehicles, charitable giving arrangements including charitable lead and remainder trusts, private and public foundations and grant making programs, asset protection planning, joint ventures with tax-exempt organizations, and compensation and equity incentive plans for executives.

On tax and business planning matters, Wayne represents closely-held businesses and their owners on contract negotiations, choice of entity and business formation, tax and business succession planning, mergers and acquisitions, private equity fund formation and operation, equity and debt investments, and executive compensation matters. He also represents closely held entities in structuring and implementing stock option plans, restricted stock plans, and synthetic equity programs, including phantom stock and stock appreciation rights plans.

Prior to joining Odin, Feldman & Pittleman P.C., Wayne was the founder and president of Zell Law, an estate and business planning boutique firm and was partner with several prominent law firms. Wayne also was a Senior Manager in the Washington National Tax Service Office of Price Waterhouse, specializing in tax-exempt organizations and flow-through entities, including partnerships, limited liability companies, and trusts.

Wayne has received an AV rating, the highest rating given by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ for his legal ability and general ethical standards.  From 2013-2017, Wayne has been honored by being selected as one of The Best Lawyers in America® for Tax Law. In 2010, Wayne was recognized among Virginia’s “Legal Elite” in Virginia Business magazine, and in 2006 he was named one of the Washington, D.C. area’s “Legal Elite” by SmartCEO Magazine. He is a frequent lecturer on estate and business planning topics, hosted a popular educational radio talk show Blueprint for Wealth from 2007 to 2013, and now hosts podcasts featuring special guests and tax, business planning and estate planning topics.  He also has been a guest columnist for the Washington Business Journal and guest blogger for Washington Business Journal WBJ BizBeat writing bi-monthly posts on tax, business, and estate planning topics of interest.

Wayne is actively involved in charitable activities in the community, currently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of Northern Virginia Family Service and on the Cornerstone Board of the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia.

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  • J.D. The College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, 1985
  • B.A. Commerce (Accounting Concentration), University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce, 1980
Admitted To Practice
  • Virginia
  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court District of Maryland
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Tax Court
Areas of Concentration
  • Business and Commercial Law
  • Business Organizations
  • Business and Succession Planning
  • Corporate Finance Law
  • Corporate Law
  • Estate and Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Partnership Law
  • Probate and Estate Administration
  • Securities Law
  • Taxation
  • Technology
  • Trusts
  • Wealth Preservation and Asset Protection
  • Wills
Professional Activities
  • Guest Blogger, WBJ BizBeat, Washington Business Journal, 2008-2013
  • Columnist, Washington Business Journal, 2009-2012
  • Podcast Host

Professional Organizations

  • Fairfax Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association –Business and Taxation Sections
  • Maryland State Bar Association
  • D.C. Bar Association
  • American Bar Association –Taxation and Business Law Sections
  • Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants
Honors & Awards
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™
  • The Best Lawyers in America® 2013-2019 for Tax Law
  • Virginia Business magazine’s “Legal Elite” 2010 & 2011 – Taxes, Estates, and Trusts
  • Virginia Business magazine’s “Legal Elite” 2018 – Taxes, Estates, Trusts, and Elder Law
  • SmartCEO magazine’s Legal Elite – 2006
  • SmartCEO magazine’s Smart CPA – 2005
  • BNA Law Student Award, 1985, Marshall-Wythe School of Law
  • Raven Society, University of Virginia, 1980
  • Best of NoVA, 2017 top lawyers in Tax Law and Trusts & Estates, Northern Virginia magazine
  • Are You a Victim of Identity Theft? re: IRS Data Breach (February 18, 2016)
  • Using LLC or Trust to Receive Lottery Winnings (January 12, 2016)
  • Should You Use Your IRA to Fund Your Business? [AUDIO] (November 30, 2015)
  • Understanding Indexed Universal Life Insurance [AUDIO] (November 23, 2015)
  • Premium Financing-Pros May Outweigh Cons [AUDIO] (November 16, 2015)
  • 162 Bonus Plans Using Life Insurance [AUDIO] (November 9, 2015)
  • Estate Planning: You Need an Incapacity Plan that Works When It’s Needed (February 3, 2015)
  • You Have Been Named as Trustee for a Living Trust — Now What? (November 20, 2014)
  • What You Need to Know – How to Avoid a Basis Management Disaster (October 15, 2014)
  • Portability and Married Couples: No Downside? (October 14, 2014)
  • Five Steps to Business Succession Planning (October 14, 2014)
  • Realities of Phantom Stock and SAR’s (Stock Appreciation Rights) (October 13, 2014)
  • Buy-sell Agreements re: Business Succession (October 13, 2014)
  • Estate Planning Tips for Childfree Individuals and Couples (October 13, 2014)
  • Pros and Cons of Using Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) [AUDIO] (October 28, 2013)
  • Use This Estate-Planning Tool to Seek Shelter from the Tax Man (June 20, 2013)
  • Tax reform: Housing provisions (and everything else) on the table (April 26, 2013)
  • Tax reform: The next big hurdle (March 25, 2013)
  • Sequestration: What is it and who is affected? (February 25, 2013)
  • New 3.8% Medicare surtax: How does it affect business owners? (February 12, 2013)
  • The candidates’ tax proposals, a side-by-side look (November 2, 2012)
  • Life insurance trusts can help lower your estate taxes (September 7, 2012)
  • Planning for largest tax hike in history (July 6, 2012)
  • Status quo could end up in largest tax increases in U.S. history (June 1, 2012)
  • Virginia law can protect assets of a trust from creditors (May 4, 2012)
  • If you have a board, you may need D&O insurance (April 6, 2012)
  • Even small firms are liable to need liability insurance (February 3, 2012)
  • Properly accounting for earn-outs saves headaches in a sale (December 2, 2011)
  • ‘Flat tax’ may face bumpy road ahead (November 4, 2011)
  • Estate planning enters perfect storm (October 7, 2011)
  • Think of the goodwill when you decide to sell (September 9, 2011)
  • Digital property needs just as much protection (August 5, 2011)
  • Some divorce papers are meant for the IRS (July 1, 2011)
  • Don’t forget about Fluffy come estate planning time (June 3, 2011)
  • When thinking about a will, think about revocable trust (May 6, 2011)
  • Employers have options beyond awarding workers ‘real’ equity (April 8, 2011)
  • Obama’s budget may open old death tax wounds (March 4, 2011)
  • Legislation offers multiple scenarios for estate planning (February 4, 2011)
  • Tax relief bill a bonus for business planning (January 14, 2011)
Recent Speaking Engagements
  • Psychology of the Entrepreneur, U.S. Trust, November 2017
  • Bootcamps for Professional Advisors, Business Success(ion) Planning, March 2017 – October 2017
  • Bootcamps for Professional Advisors, Estate Planning, March 2016 – October 2016
  • Controlled Exits Using ESOPs, Seminar, April 2014
Community Activities
  • Northern Virginia Family Service
    • Board Member, 2017-
    • Planned Giving Committee, Chair
    • Governance Committee
  • Cornerstone Board, McIntire School of Commerce, University of Virginia, 2012-
  • Children’s Charities Foundation, 1994-2015
    • Board Member, Treasurer
    • Volunteer

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