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 is a lecturer for the Graduate Tax Program for Boston University Law School where she teaches Estate Planning.  She regularly writes and speaks nationally and internationally on various topics relating to trusts and estate law.  Locally, Karen frequently collaborates with Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) to help educate other practitioners in her field.  Karen also the 2022-2023 Moderator for the Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum.

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, as a Judicial Intern to Justice Belcher of the Washington County Probate Court in Montpelier, Vermont, and as a Juridical Intern in the Essex Probate and Family Court in Salem, Massachusetts.


Practice Areas
  • Estate Plan Preparation – Including Planning for Incapacity
  • Family Business and Succession Planning
  • Trusts for the Beneficiary with Special Considerations
  • Charitable Giving – Including the Establishment of Private Foundations
  • Special Trusts for the Disabled and for Personal Injury Settlements
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Estate Tax and Gift Tax Planning and Return Preparation
  • Probate Law and Administration
  • Trust Administration – Including Trustee Services
Books and Texts
  • Co-Author:  Drafting Estate Plans, Chapter 8:  Planning Bequests or Gifts for Grandchildren (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education: 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 (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education: 2012 Supplement, 2015 Supplement, 2017 Supplement and 2019 Supplement)
  • Co-Author:  Practical Guide to Estate Planning in Massachusetts, Chapter 17:  Postmortem Estate Planning (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education: 2013 Supplement 2015 Supplement, 2017 Supplement, and 2019 Supplement)
  • Author: “Estate Tax: Massachusetts” (Thomson Reuters, Practical Law Trusts and Estates (2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022))
  • Co-Author: “Asset Protection: Is It the Right Rite of Passage for Your Client (And You)?” (Wealth Strategies Journal, November 6, 2021, also published in the Massachusetts Bar Association, Section Review, July/August 2022)
  • Author: “How to Keep Your Mind When Your Clients Are Losing Theirs” (The International Family Offices Journal, September 2021)
  • Author: “Don’t Get Cute with Non-Massachusetts QTIP Property: Review of the M. Christine Shaffer, Executrix v. Commissioner of Revenue Case” (Massachusetts Bar Association, Section Review, January/February 2021)
  • 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)
  • Co-Author: “Lifetime Gifting to Reduce Massachusetts Estate Tax” (Winter II 2015 Edition of SUMNEWS by the Massachusetts Society of CPAs)


Presentations & Speaking Engagements
  • Speaker: “The Trust Protector: Friend? Foe? Fiduciary? Or all of the above??” (Tax and Estate Planning Forum, 42nd Conference, October 27, 2022)
  • Speaker: “An Overview of Planning and Issue-Spotting for Multinational Individuals and Families” (National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, July 13, 2022)
  • Speaker: “Probate Practice” specific topic: Final Distributions, Accountings, and Closing Probate Proceedings (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education for BasicsPlus! Estate Planning, March 2019, August 2020, August 2021, and May 2022)
  • Speaker: “Asset Protection Review” (Sioux Falls Estate Planning Council, Webinar April 21, 2022)
  • 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” (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education for BasicsPlus! Estate Planning, February 2018 and February 2019)
  • Speaker: “Planning Under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code & Massachusetts Uniform Trust Code” (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education for BasicsPlus!  Estate Planning, September 2016, September 2017, and September 2018)
  • Speaker: “Opening and Closing Probate” (Boston Bar Association, May 2018)
  • 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)
Faculty Appointments
  • Adjunct Professor: Boston University Law School Graduate Tax Program; Estate Planning TX935 (Fall 2022, Fall 2021, and Teaching Assistant Fall 2020)
Memberships & Involvement
  • 2022 New England Fellows Institute of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (Institute graduation on September 16, 2022)
  • Boston Probate and Estate Planning Forum – Moderator (2022- Present), Steering Committee Member (2020-Present), and Programs Committee Co-Chair (2020-2022)
  • 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
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