“Estate planning is personal, so my goal is to understand my clients. I listen to what they say and how they say it. I also observe what they do not say and only then can I fully grasp their goals, values and priorities, so that together we can fashion an estate plan that brings them peace of mind.”

Deborah Cohn


301-654-0165 FAX

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Debbie Cohn’s keys to professional success are as diverse as her eclectic client base that consists of professionals, business owners, retirees, and non-U.S. citizens. Yet perhaps her most critical—and comforting—characteristic is an ability to explain complex concepts in a way her clients can understand. Debbie’s approach to estate planning is equal parts pragmatic and creative, which helps put her clients at ease with the knowledge that their families will be cared for and protected, and their asset protection and wealth management goals will be met. 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 families.

As a member of the firm’s Estate PlanningEstate & Trust Administration and Tax practice groups, Debbie 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, U.S. citizens owning property abroad and beneficiaries of overseas funds. Many of her clients include foreign nationals employed by The World Bank and other similar international institutions.

Debbie 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 Section bar members. In this role she worked with other section members to continually improve the law, further legal education among judges and attorneys and 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.

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Bar Admissions
  • Maryland

  • District of Columbia

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

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

Accolades & Awards
  • Best Lawyers in America - Best Lawyers (2015-2023)
         - Trusts and Estates

  • Best Law Firms – U.S. News & Best Lawyers
             - Tier 2 National Ranking for Trusts & Estates
             - Tier 1 Metropolitan (D.C. area) Ranking for Trusts & Estates

  • "Top Lawyers" - Washingtonian Magazine (2018, 2020, 2022)

  • “Washington’s Best Lawyers,” Trusts and Estates, Washingtonian Magazine (2017)

  • Fellow, American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (2011-present)

  • Maryland Super Lawyers (2014-2023)

  • Washington D.C. Super Lawyers (2014-2020)

  • “Top Estate Attorneys,” Washington Metro Area, Washingtonian Magazine (2012, 2016)

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

  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated

In The News
Recent Publications
Civic & Community Involvement
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel - Fellow; Member, Financial Action Task Force on Money-Laundering (2012-present); International Estate Planning Committee (2014-present)

  • Estate and Trust Section of the Montgomery County Bar Association - Past Co-Chair

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

  • Washington D.C. Estate Planning Council - Member

  • Estate and Trust Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association – Past Chair (2012)

  • United Jewish Endowment Fund - Trustee (2005-2011)

  • Jewish Federation of Greater Washington - Past Treasurer (2001-2004)

  • Congregation Beth El of Montgomery County - Vice President for Finance and Development

  • Jewish Community Relations Council, United Jewish Communities – Past Director

  • National Women’s Philanthropy Board, United Jewish Communities – Past Director

Speeches & Presentations
  • "Estate & Gift Taxes for U.S. Citizens," World Bank Pension Department Pre-Retirement Seminar (2017)

  • "International Estate Planning: Case Study," MSBA 2017 International Estate Planning Conference (2017)

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

  • “Elder Financial Abuse and Fraud,” Suburban Hospital Estate Planning Journal Club (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • “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)

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