W. Donald Sparks, II

Director

302.651.7758
302.498.7758 (fax)
sparks@rlf.com
W. Donald Sparks II represents banks, trust companies, and high net worth individuals in sophisticated estate planning and fiduciary matters. Head of the firm’s Tax Group, he specializes in trusts and estates, focusing primarily on estate planning, estate administration, tax-exempt organizations, and fiduciary litigation.
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Select Experience

  • Significant fiduciary litigation involving trust construction, will interpretation, and breach of fiduciary duty claims
  • Representation of large banks and trust companies on fiduciary matters
  • Representation of high net worth individuals in sophisticated estate planning matters
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W. Donald Sparks II represents banks, trust companies, and high net worth individuals in sophisticated estate planning and fiduciary matters. Head of the firm’s Tax Group, he specializes in trusts and estates, focusing primarily on estate planning, estate administration, tax-exempt organizations, and fiduciary litigation.

Don has held numerous leadership roles in the local and national bar as well as in a variety of professional organizations. He has frequently appeared as a speaker and has written numerous articles concerning estates, trusts, and related topics. In law school, Don served as a senior editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Experience

  • Significant fiduciary litigation involving trust construction, will interpretation, and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Representation of large banks and trust companies on fiduciary matters
  • Representation of high net worth individuals in sophisticated estate planning matters
  • IRS audit and controversy work
  • Representation of tax-exempt public charities and private foundations

Presentations

  • "2016 Delaware Tax Institute: Choosing the Right Entity for Your Business Client," December 2, 2016
  • "2015 Delaware Trust Conference," October 26, 2015
  • "2014 Delaware Tax Institute: Holding the Line on Taxes," November 14, 2014
  • "2014 Delaware Trust Conference," September 30, 2014
  • "Delaware Tax Institute: After the Storm, Picking up the Pieces," November 15, 2013
  • "2013 Delaware Trust Conference," October 1, 2013
  • "2012 Delaware Trust Conference," October 2, 2012
  • "The 17th Annual Rubenstein-Walsh Seminar in Professionalism and Ethics," February 24, 2012
  • "2011 Delaware Trust Conference," November 29, 2011
  • "2011 Delaware Tax Institute - Windows of Opportunity: Tax Planning in Times of Transition," November 18, 2011
  • "The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel 2011 Summer Meeting," June 23, 2011
  • "IMPACT 2010," October 26, 2010

Awards

  • Chambers HNW, 2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America 
  • Best Lawyers’ Wilmington, DE Tax Lawyer of the Year, 2015, 2012
  • Best Lawyers’ Wilmington, DE Trusts & Estates Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • Delaware Today Top Lawyer, 2016, 2015, 2014; Top Vote-Getter, Trusts and Estates, 2015, 2014
  • Super Lawyers
  • Lawdragon

Leadership

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow and State Chair
  • Estate Planning Council of Delaware, Inc., Past Chair
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Tax Section, Past Chair 
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Estates and Trusts Section, Past Chair

Education

  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1983
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1980

Admitted to Practice

  • Pennsylvania, 1983
  • Delaware, 1988

Experience

  • Significant fiduciary litigation involving trust construction, will interpretation, and breach of fiduciary duty claims.
  • Representation of large banks and trust companies on fiduciary matters
  • Representation of high net worth individuals in sophisticated estate planning matters
  • IRS audit and controversy work
  • Representation of tax-exempt public charities and private foundations

Education

  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1983
  • B.A., summa cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1980

Presentations

  • "2016 Delaware Tax Institute: Choosing the Right Entity for Your Business Client," December 2, 2016
  • "2015 Delaware Trust Conference," October 26, 2015
  • "2014 Delaware Tax Institute: Holding the Line on Taxes," November 14, 2014
  • "2014 Delaware Trust Conference," September 30, 2014
  • "Delaware Tax Institute: After the Storm, Picking up the Pieces," November 15, 2013
  • "2013 Delaware Trust Conference," October 1, 2013
  • "2012 Delaware Trust Conference," October 2, 2012
  • "The 17th Annual Rubenstein-Walsh Seminar in Professionalism and Ethics," February 24, 2012
  • "2011 Delaware Trust Conference," November 29, 2011
  • "2011 Delaware Tax Institute - Windows of Opportunity: Tax Planning in Times of Transition," November 18, 2011
  • "The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel 2011 Summer Meeting," June 23, 2011
  • "IMPACT 2010," October 26, 2010

Awards

  • Chambers HNW, 2016
  • The Best Lawyers in America 
  • Best Lawyers’ Wilmington, DE Tax Lawyer of the Year, 2015, 2012
  • Best Lawyers’ Wilmington, DE Trusts & Estates Lawyer of the Year, 2015
  • Delaware Today Top Lawyer, 2016, 2015, 2014; Top Vote-Getter, Trusts and Estates, 2015, 2014
  • Super Lawyers
  • Lawdragon

Leadership

  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, Fellow and State Chair
  • Estate Planning Council of Delaware, Inc., Past Chair
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Tax Section, Past Chair 
  • Delaware State Bar Association, Estates and Trusts Section, Past Chair