Deborah A. Cohn - Paley Rothman

Deborah A. Cohn

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2015
Phone: 301-951-9341

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.

Additional Information

Areas of Concentration
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate and Trust Administration
  • Tax
Bryn Mawr CollegeAB 1974George Washington University Law SchoolJ.D. 1978
Maryland State Bar AssociationAmerican College of Trust and Estate CounselFinancial Action Task Force on Money-Laundering (ACTEC)Montgomery County Bar AssociationInternational Society of Trust and Estate PractitionersWashington, D.C. Estate Planning CouncilInternational Estate Planning (ACTEC)

Case History

International tax planning — Assisted US beneficiary of foreign trust that was part of a multi-layer planning structure created by parent to migrate the trust to the US, minimizing adverse tax consequences and future administration expenses, while eliminating  compliance problems created through administration by foreign trustee.
International tax planning — Advised foreign nationals on pre-immigration tax planning, including making non-taxable transfers to U.S. beneficiaries through complex structures and shedding foreign holding companies and other foreign assets that would create significant adverse US compliance burdens for parents and children upon parents' immigration.
International tax planning — Advised foreign parent of US child on options for structuring transfer cash and complex and extensive business holdings to US dynasty trust for child so as to minimize or eliminate burdensome tax compliance issues for child and significantly reduce child's potential US tax exposure.

Client Comments

"Deborah Cohn is always a pleasure to do business with; she is friendly and her expertise is always first class. I have had clients very ill and she has worked late into the night to complete documents and even gone to the hospital to meet clients and have documents signed. I know that when I refer a client to her, the work will be done timely, properly the first time, and the client is getting the best work and advice."

-William Burak
Managing Member
Riibner and Associates, Chtd.

"As a financial planner specializing in retirement planning, having an excellent estate planning attorney to refer to my clients is critical to the overall service I provide. After becoming acquainted with Ms. Cohn, she has become my first choice referral to my clients. Ms. Cohn is a lawyer of the highest level of integrity and competence, who brings a sincerely caring attitude to her work. I have always been impressed by the extent of her dedication to her clients' well-being. I once had occasion to contact her with a question about the estate plan of a client who we have in common, on the very same day that I was meeting with the client. Not only did Ms. Cohn find time to get back to me with an answer same-day, but she took the extra step of joining the meeting by conference call, to make sure that the client understood the issue at hand and that the estate plan was precisely in line with the client's wishes. Deborah Cohn's expertise and professionalism are givens. But it is that extra level of care, that "above & beyond" quality, which gives me peace of mind, knowing that when I refer my clients to her, they are in the best possible hands. "

-Rick Pinion
Pinion Financial Services, LLC

"Deborah Cohn is always personable, professional and up to speed on what is happening with the laws, regulations, and cases in the estate and trust area. If I have a question about something another attorney has suggested or written I can always call on Debbie to discuss what my concerns or questions may be if I can't get comfortable after discussing with the original attorney. She has dealt with several of my firms clients over the years and I have never had a negative comment made by any of them. I can always count on her to follow-up and make sure that the client gets a finished product timely."

Office Location

4800 Hampden Lane, Sixth Floor
Bethesda, MD 20814-2930
United States


Practice Areas

Trusts and Estates