Donald N. Freedman

Elder and Disability Law
Estate Planning
Probate and Trust Administration

246 Walnut Street
Suite 201
Newton, Massachusetts 02460

Tel: 617-964-7000 x160   

On the practice of Elder and Disability Law

Freedman"Our clients often come to us feeling overwhelmed by their concerns, whether about impoverishing themselves in paying for a spouse’s nursing home placement, or ensuring the personal and financial protection of a child with special needs after they are gone, or obtaining essential disability benefits and health care services. These needs pose complex issues. The law itself is complicated and government procedures and bureaucracies seldom help. Also, we need to take into account sensitive personal and family considerations, particularly involving the effort to find a balance of autonomy and protection that is appropriate for the particular client.

With seven lawyers and an experienced support staff of paralegals and legal assistants, we have the capacity to concentrate on every aspect of elder and disability law, estate planning, trust administration and estate settlement. We have the commitment, knowledge, depth and expertise to respond quickly and effectively to even the most difficult situation. Being an integral part of a full service firm helps us bring relevant expertise – in real estate, domestic relations, creditor protection, or litigation, for example – to bear on any issue within our areas of practice. We are also very willing to work with a client’s financial, tax account and care advisors, to help the client forge a comprehensive response to his or her needs."


Attorney Donald N. Freedman concentrates his practice in elder law, work and entitlement-related legal problems of adults with disabilities, transition issues for young people with special needs entering adulthood, special estate planning for families with children with disabilities and other special needs, and advising trustees, guardians and other fiduciaries on most appropriately meeting their responsibilities.

He has argued important elder and disability law cases before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

In 2021 (as he has annually since 2008), he was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America™ in the field of elder law. As published in Boston Magazine, he has been named a Massachusetts “Super Lawyer” in elder law, estate planning, probate and health care annually for the years 2004-2021, and in 2006 and 2007 was listed in the “top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers” in any field. For thirty-one consecutive years, he has been rated “AV Preeminent” for the “highest possible peer review rating in legal ability and ethical standards” by Martindale-Hubbell. In 2009, Attorney Freedman was given a Scholar-Mentor Award by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. for “outstanding contributions to legal education” over the prior twenty-five years.

Attorney Freedman has written and spoken widely on elder and disability law topics. He and Attorney Emily Starr, of Worcester, conceived the most important treatise for Massachusetts attorneys on elder and disability law, the three-volume, “Estate Planning for the Aged or Incapacitated Client in Massachusetts,” published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. He and Attorney Starr have authored chapters and edited every edition of the treatise through its 4th edition (2015). He has also co-authored with this wife, Ruth I. Freedman, Ph.D., the chapter, “Planning for Now and the Future: Social, Legal and Financial Concerns,” in Life Course Perspectives on Adulthood and Old Age, (American Association on Mental Retardation 1994). More recently published articles include “On Competency and Capacity of Older Adults to Make Decisions” in the Journal of Geriatric Care Management (Spring 2013) and “Younger-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: Key Legal and Financial Issues for the Aging Life Care Manager” in the Journal of Aging Life Care (Spring 2018).

Out of the office and over the years, Attorney Freedman has assumed voluntary governance positions in a number of human services, education and advocacy organizations, including as board chair of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association and board chair of the Learning Prep School, for children with special needs. He has also served on the Governor’s Commission on Mental Retardation and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, as well as on the board of directors of Jewish Vocational Services where he chaired the Disability Services Committee. He has also been active with Temple Emanuel, in Newton, where he currently serves on the Daily Minyan, Bereavement and Inclusion Committees, and volunteers with the Stars of David, an activity group he and his wife helped found about thirty years ago for Jewish adults with developmental disabilities or other special needs.

A 1969 graduate of Brandeis University, Attorney Freedman obtained his law degree from Boston College Law School in 1972 and has done graduate work with the Boston University School of Law Graduate Tax Program.

246 Walnut Street, Newton, MA 02460 | 617 964 7000