Debra Rahmin Silberstein, Ph.D.

Partner | Chair, Trusts & Estates | Co-Chair, Private Client


Debra Silberstein focuses her practice on trusts and estates planning and administration, family philanthropic planning, tax-related matters, and elder law. She is considered one of the leading experts in estate planning and elder law and has guided inter-generational families through philanthropic planning for over 30 years.

Debra has extensive experience working with multiple generations of families to navigate their estate plans, aligning family values with tax efficiencies to create effective estate plans and lasting legacies. She also advises family business owners on succession planning. Her counsel includes generational wealth transfer, philanthropic and legacy planning, long term care, and special needs planning. Administering trusts, estates, and foundations are an integral part of Debra’s practice.

In philanthropic planning, Debra helps clients and their families enhance and expand their networks, minimize taxes, and align their estate plans with their philanthropic values. Her position in the field is unique, as she specializes in planning for multiple generations within one family.

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J.D., Hofstra University School of Law

Ph.D., Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis College

B.A., Syracuse University



honors & awards

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

The National Law Journal (NLJ) Family/Elder Law Trailblazer (2022)

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Powley Elder Law Award (2018)

community involvement

Lawrence General Hospital

  • Chair, Board of Trustees

Anti-Defamation League

  • New England Regional Board

McLean Hospital

  • Board of Visitors

Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Advisory Council for Bipolar Research

American Hospital Association

  • AHA Governance Committee

Andover’s Coalition for Education

  • Advisory Board

Heller School at Brandeis University

  • Alumni Board

Gov. Deval Patrick’s Education Readiness Project

  • Long-Term Financial Planning Subcommittee

Massachusetts POLST Consumer Advisory Committee

  • Member

Andover School Committee

  • Past chair

Merrimack Valley Community Foundation

  • Past vice-chair

Andover Finance Committee

  • Past member

Women’s Resource Center’s Legal Access Project

  • Past director

The Andovers Village at Home (TAVAH)

  • Past director


Estate planning

Tax planning

Philanthropic planning

Estate and trust administration

Business succession planning

Elder law

  • Debra was instrumental in developing a senior tax voucher program – through her decade-long work on her town’s Council on Aging – which has helped senior citizens “age in place” and stay in their homes over the past 20 years. The program became a model for other municipalities that have since instituted similar “age in place” programs. She has co-authored numerous amicus briefs on behalf of varying non-profit organizations to support public policy changes and initiatives on related elder law and health care matters.


Massachusetts Bar Association

  • Probate Law Section Council

Lawrence Bar Association

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys


“Defining, Owning, and Accessing Digital Assets,” Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, February 2015

“Decanting After Morse v. Kraft,” Massachusetts Lawyers Journal, March 2014

Contributing author, “Brief of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Massachusetts Chapter and AARP as Amici Curae in Support of the Appellant,” Johnson v. Kindred Healthcare, Inc., 466 Mass. 779, 2014

Dissertation Study: Authenticity: How Jewish American Families Sustain Philanthropic Values and Behaviors Aross Generations, August 2009

Debra has also written a number of Amicus briefs for the Massachusetts S.J.C and for publications such as NAELA News and the American Bar Association Probate and Property Magazine.

speaking engagements

“Tax Issues in Choice of Entity & Succession Planning”, Speaker, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. Program, October 2023

“The Golden Visa – Mobile Residency for Seniors”, Speaker, Guardianships Institute 2023 Annual Conference, August 2023

“Legal Remedies for Long-Term Mental Health Planning,” Guest Speaker, Mental Horizons Podcast, September 26, 2019

“Estate Planning as a Tool to Protect & Preserve Assets & Minimize Family Conflict”, Speaker, May 2019

“Guardianships, Conservatorships and other Estate Planning Techniques to Leverage support for Family Members and Loved Ones with Mental Illness,” Speaker, November 2017

“Using Estate Planning to Leverage Treatment of Addiction & Mental Illness,” Co-chair, MCLE New England Program, April 2017

Speaker, Edgewood Retirement Community, Spring 2016

“Cutting Issues in Estate Planning,” Co-chair, MCLE New England Program, 2014 and 2015