Karen Witherell

“I went to law school knowing that I wanted to practice in trusts and estates.  I take pride in being able to help my clients achieve peace of mind through a carefully and thoughtfully drafted plan that takes into consideration all of the client’s specific goals.  I appreciate that at Bove & Langa we strive to build lasting relationships with our clients through our high level of legal expertise, our dedication to client service, and our commitment to quality work.”

Karen Witherell
Bove & Langa
10 Tremont Street
Suite 600
Boston, MA 02108
Tel: 617-720-6040
Fax: 617-720-1919
[email protected]

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Karen Witherell

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Karen, promoted to Partner in 2019, provides an exciting dynamic to the Firm’s innovative practice.  Her significant background in Trusts and Estates law and strong commitment to her clients enhances Karen’s practice which includes wealth preservation, incapacity and estate planning, gift transaction planning, preparation of gift and estate tax returns, business succession planning, prenuptial agreements, trust administration and probate administration.  Karen has experience in working with clients with a wide variety of deeply personal estate planning goals such as ensuring the continued ownership of a family business for multiple generations.  Karen believes that an important part of her practice is to understand her clients’ wishes and family situations so that she can deliver a tailored work product that will provide each one of her clients with peace of mind and the result they are looking for.

In addition to her work in private practice, Karen is very active in the trusts and estates legal community.  She regularly writes and speaks on various topics relating to trusts and estate law, including regularly collaborating with Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) to help educate other practitioners in her field.  Karen also is co-chair of the programs committee for the Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum.  Additionally, Karen served as the teaching assistant for the Fall 2020 Semester Estate Planning Course at the Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Program.

Prior to joining Bove & Langa, Karen practiced trusts and estates law with a mid-sized regional law firm.  In addition to her work in private practice, Karen has worked directly with the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court and other counsel to implement the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC).  Karen was a member of the MUPC implementation Committee and served on both the MUPC Rules Subcommittee and the Transitional Rule Subcommittee in 2010 and 2011.  Karen has also served as a Judicial Law Clerk in six divisions of the MA Probate and Family Court.

Karen attended law school with the intention of practicing in Trusts and Estates law and was committed to this goal throughout law school. During her time at Vermont Law School, Karen served as a Legal Intern to the Vermont Legislative Study Group reviewing a restructuring the Vermont Probate Court system and as a Judicial Intern to Justice Belcher of the Washington County Probate Court in Montpelier, Vermont.


Practice Areas

• Estate and Gift Tax Planning
• Probate Law and Administration
• Family Business and Succession Planning
• Trusts for the Beneficiary with Special Considerations
• Charitable Giving
• Special Trusts for the Disabled and for Personal Injury Settlements
• Estate and Gift Tax Return Preparation
• Prenuptial Agreements

  • Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum – Programs Committee Co-Chair (2020-Present) & Steering Committee Member (2020-Present)
  • Boston Estate Planning Council – Seminars & Webinars Chair (2019 – 2020); Governance Committee Co-Chair (2018 – 2019); Strategic Advisory Committee Co-Chair (2017-2018); Programs Committee Member (2014- 2017); WIC Committee Member (2013-2014)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association:  Member
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys:  Member
Books and Texts
  • Co-Author:  Drafting Estate Plans, Chapter 8:  Planning Bequests or Gifts for Grandchildren (MCLE, 2016 Supplement, 2019 Supplement and 2021 Supplement)
  • Co-Author:  Drafting Wills and Trusts in Massachusetts, Chapter 8:  Special Problems Related to Transfers, Chapter 14:  Provisions Regarding Payment of Estate Taxes, Chapter 47:  Payment of Testamentary Devises, Debts and Taxes (MCLE, 2012 Supplement, 2015 Supplement & 2017 Supplement & 2019 Supplement)
  • Co-Author:  Practical Guide to Estate Planning in Massachusetts, Chapter 17:  Postmortem Estate Planning (MCLE 2013 Supplement 2015 Supplement, 2017 Supplement, & 2019 Supplement)
Articles & Presentations

• Teaching Assisstant, Estate Planning (Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Program – Fall 2020)

  • Author:  Don’t Get Cute with Non-Massachusetts QTIP Property:  Review of the the M. Christine Shaffer, Executrix v. Commissioner of Revenue Case (Massachusetts Bar Association, Section Review, Janaury/February 2021)
  • Speaker – “Probate Practice” at MCLE for BasicPlus! Estate Planning – March 2019 and August 2020.

• Author: Estate Tax: Massachusetts (Thomson Reuters, Practical Law Trusts and Estates, 2019 and 2020(pending)

• Author: EWills: A Brief Summary of Current Statutory Law and How It Might Impact Massachusetts Probate Practice (Massachusetts Bar Association, Section Review, January/ February 2020)

• Speaker – “Domestic Asset Protection Trusts: Protecting Clients’ Assets Without Going Offshore” (Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum – December 2019)

• Chair of Program and Speaker – “Will & Trust Drafting” at MCLE for BasicPlus! Estate Planning– February 2018 and February 2019.

• Speaker – “Planning Under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code & Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code” at MCLE for BasicPlus!        Estate Planning – September 2016, September 2017, and September 2018

• Speaker – “Opening and Closing Probate” at the Boston Bar Association – May 2018

• Co-Author: Lifetime Gifting to Reduce Massachusetts Estate Tax, (Winter II 2015 Edition of SUMNEWS by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs)

• Speaker: “Lifetime Gifting to Reduce Massachusetts Estate Tax” (Trust and Estates Consortium, December 2014)

• Speaker: “Lifetime Gifting to Reduce Massachusetts Estate Tax” (McLane Middleton Law Firm – Estates & Trusts Speaker Series, September 2014)

• Speaker: “Decoding the MUPC & MUTC – 2 Years Later” (MCLE, May 2014)

• Speaker: “One Year Later – The Massachusetts Uniform Probate and Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code” (McLane Middleton Law Firm – Estates & Trusts Speaker Series, September 2013)

• Regular speaker on Alumni panels for the Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Program

Education & Admissions


  • Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Program – LL.M. in Taxation, 2011, Recipient of The Ernest M. Haddad Award for best example of overall ability based on academic achievement, character, and potential to serve the public interest.
  • Vermont Law School – J.D. cum laude, 2005
  • University of Vermont – BA in Geology, 1999


  • Massachusetts, 2005