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Deborah CohnDeborah A. Cohn

(301) 951-9341
(301) 654-0165 fax
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Deborah A. Cohn’s keys to professional success are as diverse as her eclectic client base that consists of young couples, non-U.S. citizens, professionals, business owners and retirees. Yet perhaps her most critical—and comforting—characteristic is an ability to explain complex concepts in a way her clients can understand. She listens carefully to what they are saying—and what they are not saying—and comes away with a strong sense of what is really most important to them. Ms. Cohn’s approach to estate planning is equal parts pragmatic and creative, which helps put her clients at ease with the knowledge that their asset protection and wealth management goals will be met and their families cared for and protected. And her wealth of experience and vast knowledge of the law allow her to blend her tax planning skills with a genuine compassion and empathy for a wide range of family issues.

As a member of the firm’s Estate Planning, Estate & Trust Administration and Tax practice groups, Ms. Cohn concentrates her practice in the areas of estate planning, probate and trust administration, business planning and taxation. She works extensively on the estate, gift and other tax concerns of non-U.S. citizens and U.S. citizens owning property abroad, and was named one of the metro area’s Top Estate Attorneys in Washingtonian Magazine’s November 2012 issue “Top Money Advisers: Estate Attorneys” for her work in these areas. Ms. Cohn was also selected to the Best Lawyers in America (2015-2016) list for Trusts and Estates, the Maryland Super Lawyers list (2014-2016), and the Washington D.C. Super Lawyers lists (2014-2015) for Estate and Probate. Many of her clients include foreign nationals employed by The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other similar international institutions, along with executives of international companies, professionals and owners of closely-held businesses.

Ms. Cohn was Chair of the Estate & Trust Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association from 2012-2013, a position in which she supported the section’s charter to promote the interests of both the public and estate & trust bar members. In this role, she worked with other section members to continually improve the law, to further legal education among judges and attorneys and to coordinate with the Register of Wills to improve the administration of estates. In addition, she assisted legislators in shaping estates and trusts legislation and testifies before committees of the Maryland General Assembly on legislation impacting Maryland estate and trust law. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, a member of the prestigious International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP-USA) and a former co-chair of the Montgomery County Bar Association’s Estate & Trust Law Section.

To complement her professional activities, Ms. Cohn has long been actively involved in her community. She is a past treasurer of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington (2001-04) and a trustee of the United Jewish Endowment Fund (2005-11). She has served as Vice President for Finance and Development of Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County and has been a director of the Jewish Community Relations Council and the National Women’s Philanthropy Board of the United Jewish Communities.



J.D., With Honors, George Washington University National Law Center, 1978

A.B., Cum Laude, Bryn Mawr College, 1974


Memberships, Awards & Bar Association Activities 

Chair, Estate & Trust Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association (2012)

Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel; Member, Financial Action Task Force on Money-Laundering (2012)

Washingtonian Magazine, Top Estate Attorneys, Washington Metro area (2012)

Bethesda Magazine, Best Estate Planning Attorneys in Montgomery County, Maryland (2011)

Best Lawyers in America (2015-2016)

Maryland Super Lawyers (2014-2016)

Washington DC Super Lawyers (2014-2015)

Former Co-Chair, Estate & Trust Law Section of the Montgomery County Bar Association

Member, International Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP-USA)

Member, Washington, D.C. Estate Planning Council


Speeches & Publications 

Speech: “Estate Planning for U.S. Citizens, Residents and Non-Residents,” Presentation at the 1818 Society of the World Bank Group (2015)

Speech: “Elder Financial Abuse and Fraud” Presentation at Suburban Hospital Estate Planning Journal Club (2014)

Speech: “Who is in the Family? Changing Definitions of Child, Issue, Spouse and Marriage in Maryland?” Presentation at the Judicial Institute of Maryland (2013)

Publication: “Notes from the Chair: Maryland Legislative Update,” (article on legislative successes and ongoing legislative efforts of the Section in the 2013 session of the Maryland General Assembly), MSBA Section of Estate and Trust Law Newsletter, Vol. 22, No. 2, (2013)

Publication: “Notes from the Chair,”  (article on a risk based approach to combating money laundering and terrorist financing), MSBA Section of Estate and Trust Newsletter, January 2013

Speech: “Legislative Wins and Losses in the 2012 Maryland General Assembly,” Advanced Estate Planning Institute, Maryland State Bar Association (2012)

Speech: “What to Expect in the Maryland General Assembly in 2013,” Annual Meeting of the Maryland Association of Judges of the Orphans’ Courts (2012)

Speech: “International Estate Planning,” World Bank Pension Department Pre-Retirement Seminars (2007-2015)

Speech: “Understanding the Role of the Personal Representative,” National Business Institute (2011)

Speech: “Taking the First Steps: Filing an Estate in Probate Court,” National Business Institute (2011)

Speech: “Succession Planning for Business Owners,” The Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce (2011)

Speech: “Basic Estate Planning for the Mid-Sized Estate of $2 Million to $10 Million,” District of Columbia Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (2011)

Publication: “Now About That Chalet in Grenoble? -International Estate Planning,” Maryland Bar Journal, Vol. XLII, Number 5, (2009)

Speech: “Using and Drafting Trusts in Estate Planning: Marital Deduction Trusts and Life Insurance Trusts,” Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (2011, 2009, 2007, 2005)

Publication: “Will Drafting,” Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (2009, 2007, 2005)

Publication: “Estate and Income Tax Planning for Non-U.S. Citizens,” Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (2008)

Publication: “Tax Traps and Pitfalls for Estates and Estate Planners,” Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (2006)

Publication: “A Primer on Required Minimum Distributions: How to Take Maximum Advantage of Retirement Plan Assets,” Maryland Bar Journal, Vol. XXXVI, Number 2, (2003)

Publication: “Retirement and Deferred Compensation Plans for Tax Exempt Organizations,” New York University – Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation (2003)

Speech: “Eight Greatest Estate Planning Techniques in Maryland: Estate Planning for Non-U.S. Citizens, GRATs and Sales to Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts),” LORMAN (2003)

Publication: “Non-Tax Practical Considerations in Estate Planning,” LORMAN (2002)

Publication: “Estate and Business Planning with IRAs and Qualified Retirement Plan Accounts,” Maryland Institute for Continuing Professional Education of Lawyers (2002)

Publication: “Small Business and The Cafeteria Plan,” New York University – Review of Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation (2002)

Publication: “Increasing Small Plan Formation: A Blueprint for Congressional Action for the Next Five Years,” New York University – Proceedings of the Fifty-Ninth Institute on Federal Taxation (2001)

Publication: “401K Safe Harbors Work For Small Business,” New York University – Proceedings of the Fifty-Eighth Institute on Federal Taxation (2000)