Brian D. Bixby

Partner | Chair Emeritus, Private Client


Brian Bixby is a partner in the firm’s Private Client Group. His practice concentrates on all aspects of estate planning and fiduciary administration – including mediation, conciliation, probate court litigation, appeals, family law, guardianships and conservatorships, and representation of individuals and fiduciaries. He also offers trust protector services, ensuring that a trust is not adversely impacted by evolving laws and regulations. He is both an experienced litigator and negotiator, helping clients reach an agreement on a dispute either before or during litigation.

His successful career has amounted to 47 years of winning and negotiating on behalf of his clients. In that time, Brian served for 25 years as the chair of the Private Client Group and was also the head of the firm’s Fiduciary Litigation practice.

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J.D., Northeastern University School of Law, 1977

A.B., Brown University, 1974



U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

U.S. Supreme Court of Massachusetts

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Tax Court

honors & awards

AV® Preeminent Rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Boston Magazine’s Top Lawyers ListTrusts and Estates (2023)

Go To Trusts & Estates Lawyer, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (2022)

The Best Lawyers in America© Best Lawyer, Family Law, Litigation – Trusts & Estates, and Trusts & Estates (2010-2024)

National Association of Estate Planners & Councils (NAEPC) – Accredited Estate Planner designee (2018-present)

Massachusetts Super Lawyers (2004-2023)

Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers (2004)

National Law Journal – Litigation Trailblazer (2016)

community involvement

XII International Congress on Family Law

  • U.S. Delegate


American Bar Association

  • Real Property, Trust and Estate Law Section

American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

  • Fellow (1995-present)
  • Fiduciary Litigation Committee Member (2007-present)

American Heart Association

  • Professional Advisor Network Member

Boston Bar Association

  • Probate Committee

Boston Estate Planning Council

  • Member

Boston Probate And Estate Planning Forum

  • Member (1985-present)
  • Steering Committee (2007-2010)

Family Firm Institute

  • New England Chapter – Board Member

Massachusetts Bar Association

  • Eco-Challenge Task Force
  • Probate Law Section Council
  • Probate Litigation Practice Group
  • Taxation Law Section Council – Past Chair (2007-2009)
  • Fee Arbitration Board Committee – Arbitrator

Massachusetts Clients’ Security Board of the Supreme Judicial Court

  • Treasurer (2023-present)
  • Member (2020-present)

Massachusetts Family and Probate Inn of Court

  • Member (1995-present)
  • Past President (2007-2008)

Visiting Nurses Association of Boston Foundation, VNA Care Network Foundation and VNA Private Care, Inc.

  • Board of Directors
  • Former Member



“Litigating Will Contests,” Chapter in MCLE Fiduciary Litigation in the Probate Court, 2016

“Basic Estate Planning for Divorce Lawyers,” Chapter in MCLE Divorce Law Practice Manual, 2016

“Will Contests, Compromises, and Practical Steps to Avoid Litigation,” Chapter in MCLE Massachusetts Probate Manual, 2016-2021

“Having an Estate Plan in Place Is the Gift That Keeps on Giving,” Boston Business Journal, December 2013


“Litigation Trailblazers: Brian D. Bixby,” National Law Journal, December 2016


“Q&A with Brian Bixby, Probate and Trust Attorney at Burns & Levinson,” Boston Citybizlist, June 2021


“For Law Firms, Newly Wealthy Startup Clients Bring in Big Business,” The American Lawyer, May 2019

“Newly Wealthy Startup Clients Means Big Business for Law Firms,” Legaltech news, May 2019

“Man rescued at sea is said to have killed mom, grandpa for inheritance,” The Boston Globe, July 2017

Suffolk Probate Court has ‘serious deficiencies’,” The Boston Globe, February 2017

“Wrongful Death Suit Against Aaron Hernandez to Go Forward,” The Boston Globe, April 2015

“Estate and Succession Planning,” MYOB Radio, March 2012

speaking engagements

“Drafting With an Eye Toward Uncontested Estate and Trust Administration,” Speaker, NAELA Annual Conference, May 2024

Speaker, Massachusetts Bar Association 2023 Elder Law Education Program, May 2023

Speaker, Massachusetts Bar Association 2022 Elder Law Program, May 2022

“Charging and Defending Trustee Fees in Massachusetts: What is Reasonable?” Speaker, Boston Bar Association Program, December 2018

“Probate and Trust Litigation Involving Pre-Nuptial, Post-Nuptial, and Separation Agreements,” Panelist, MBA 6th Annual Probate Law Conference, November 2018

“Equity Actions: Determining Ownership Recovery of Assets,” Faculty, Massachusetts Bar Association CLE Program, May 2017

“Fiduciary Removal: When to Get the Broom,” Presenter, Massachusetts Family and Probate American Inn of Court Presentation, March 2017

“Equity Actions to Determine Ownership, Recover Assets,” Speaker, Fourth Annual Probate Law Conference, November 2016

“Disinheriting Heirs or Advising Disinherited Heirs,” Moderator, Boston Estate Planning Council June Member Round Table Breakfast, June 2014

“Fiduciary Litigation,” Panelist, MCLE Fiduciary Litigation in the Probate Court, May 2014

“Estate Planning and Divorce,” Faculty, MCLE When Estate Planning and Divorce Collide, July 2013

“Estate Planning: The Cornerstone of a Successful Family Business Succession,” Panelist, Northeastern University Executive Education Breakfast Program, November 2011

“The New MUPC for Paralegals,” Faculty, MCLE Seminar, September 2011