Debra Rahmin Silberstein, Esq., Ph.D.

Partner

Andover, MA
D: 978.474.4700
Boston, MA
D: 617.345.3000

“Estate planning is a superb area that lets me provide significant value to clients, get to know families, help them focus on their goals and preserve assets.”

Overview
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Andover, MA
D: 978.474.4700
Boston, MA
D: 617.345.3000
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Debra Silberstein is considered one of the leading experts in family and elder law and has guided inter-generational families through philanthropic planning for over 25 years. Her practice focuses on trusts and estates, family philanthropic planning, tax-related matters and family and elder law.

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, with some clients spanning from grandparents to grandchildren lines.

With a law degree and a doctorate degree in social policy and philanthropy, Debra is a pioneer and advocate in the lives of elders and families – especially those with special needs children. She is a tireless advocate for the elderly and others whose special needs and circumstances are often ignored or overlooked. Her practice involves helping elders and their families plan for their future and for the needs of their children or relatives with disabilities and related challenges.

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. Debra 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

Prior to joining Burns & Levinson in 2016, Debra was in private practice for more than 25 years. Most recently, she was the recipient of the 2018 Powley Elder Law Award given by the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and was named a 2022 “Family/Elder Law Trailblazer by The National Law Journal.

Outside of attorney commitments, Debra has held numerous board and leadership positions. She served as chair of the Lawrence General Hospital Board of Trustees and was also appointed to the American Hospital Association Board of Governors. She serves on the Board of Visitors at McLean Hospital. Debra currently serves on the Planned Giving Advisory Council for the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia and has served as a consultant to the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at the Heller School at Brandeis University. Debra also serves on the Board of the Anti-Defamation League, New England.

Experience

Experience

  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning
  • Philanthropic planning
  • Estate and trust administration
  • Business succession planning
  • Elder law
Education & Admissions
Bar Admissions

Massachusetts

Education

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

Honors & Awards

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

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

Memberships

Memberships

Massachusetts Bar Association

  • Probate Law Section Council

Lawrence Bar Association

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

Community Involvement

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

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
Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

"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

Edgewood Retirement Community, Speaker, Spring 2016

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

Articles & Publications

Articles & Publications

"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.

Resources
Debra Rahmin Silberstein, Esq., Ph.D.
Practices
  • Trusts & Estates
Education

J.D., Hofstra University School of Law

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

B.A., Syracuse University

Admissions

Massachusetts

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