Cowan, Marlee Headshot

Marlee S. Cowan



Marlee Cowan focuses her practice on probate litigation, guardianships, conservatorships, will contests, trust disputes, breaches of fiduciary duty and estate and trust administration. Marlee’s practice also includes estate planning, trust administration, real estate, and tax matters. Marlee is skilled in employing creative tactics to help guide clients through every step of the process – from delicate negotiations to trial. Marlee is a fierce advocate for her clients. She is aggressive when necessary while balancing the preservation of family relations and mitigation of family disharmony where possible. Marlee is active in the community, serving on various committees.

Areas of concentration:

  • Probate Litigation & Dispute Resolution
  • Estate & Trust Administration
  • Estate Planning
  • Estate & Gift Tax Planning

Recognition and Awards

  • Named, Boston magazine, Top Lawyers, Trusts and Estates Law, 2022-2023
  • Selected, Massachusetts Rising Stars, 2015-2023
  • Recipient, MVP Award GW2 Chapter, 4th Annual Night of 500 Stars Gala

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Massachusetts Guardianship Association (MGA)
    • Former Vice-President, Board of Directors
    • Former President, Board of Directors
    • Former Co-Chair, Massachusetts Guardianship Association/Social Law Library Annual Guardianship Conference
  • Boston Bar Association
    • Representative to Elder Justice Innovation Grant Advisory Committee
    • Former Co-Chair, Fiduciary Litigation Section
    • Former Volunteer, Virtual Hearing Resources Guides
  • USA500 Clubs
    • Club Development Director, GW2
    • Former Member, Membership Experience Committee
    • Former Co-Chair, Rising Stars Roundtable
    • Former Member, Elder Care Roundtable
  • Boston Estate Planning Council (BEPC)
    • Member, Board of Directors
    • Former Chair, Governance Committee
    • Former Chair, Member Involvement Committee
    • Former Member, BEPC Tomorrow Committee
    • Former Member, Sponsorship Committee
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
    • Member, Probate Council
    • Member, Trust Administration Practice Group
  • Member, MOLST Advisory Group
  • Member, National Guardianship Association
  • Member, Boston Probate & Estate Planning Forum
  • Board Member, Greater Boston Fiduciary Law American Inn of Court
  • Former Member, Trusts and Estates Consortium
  • Former Volunteer Attorney, De Novo (previously known as Community Legal Services and Counsel Center) representing refugees seeking asylum in the United States

Publications and Speaking Engagements

  • Speaker, “Administering Poorly Drafted Trusts,” Boston Bar Association (May 22, 2024)
  • Speaker, “End of Life Decision Making in Guardianships: Navigating the Ever-Changing Landscape,” Annual Meeting, Massachusetts Guardianship Association (January, 2024)
  • Speaker, “Contested Conservatorships,” Guardianship & Conservatorship BasicsPlus! (November, 2023)
  • Speaker, “Guardianships Involving Contested Transfers to SNFs, IPs Freedom and Activities, Issues of Family Involvement,” Massachusetts Bar Association Probate Conference (November, 2023)
  • Speaker, “Representing Clients in Cases Involving Rogers/Medical Treatment Decisions,” MBA Probate Conference (November, 2022)
  • Speaker, “Contested Conservatorships,” Guardianship & Conservatorship: MCLE BasicsPlus! (November 4, 2022)
  • Moderator, “A Fresh Look at Guardianships, Conservatorships, Commitments and End of Life Care,” The Social Law Library and Massachusetts Guardianship Association (September 22, 2022)
  • Co-Author, “Hornibrook V. Richard: Conservator As A Quasi-Judicial Officer Explained (Or Not!),” Massachusetts Bar Association (February 2022)
  • Moderator, “The Messy Intersection of Divorce and Trust Law – Everything but Pfannenstiehl,” Boston Bar Association (February 15, 2022)
  • Co-Author, “Tax Liens and Liens Arising from Death,” Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
  • Co-Author, “Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act,” MCLE: Guardianship and Conservatorship Practice Under the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code
  • Moderator, “Proving Testamentary Capacity At Trial,” Boston Bar Association (April 14, 2021)
  • Moderator, “Estate Planning with Seniors during COVID-19: Undue Influence, Incapacity & Best Practices,” Boston Bar Association (November 2020)
  • Presenter, “Legal Issues Related to Planning for Incapacity and End-of-Life,” Sharon Public Library (May 2020)
  • Presenter, “Guardians and Conservators: Stories to help you and your clients make some of estate planning’s hardest decisions,” Trusts and Estates Consortium (January 2020)
  • Speaker, “Navigating Probate & Estate Administration: Assisting litigants through the Probate and Family Court and the estate administration process,” MCLE (June 2019)
  • Presenter, “Diminished Capacity and Your Professional Responsibility,” Elder Care Consortium , USA500 (May 2019)
  • “Diminished Capacity and Your Professional Responsibility,” Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts (FPAMA) (May 2019)
  • “Fundamentals of Estate Planning – Part One,” Boston Estate Planning Council (BEPC) (February 2019)
  • “Substituted Judgment, MOLST Orders and End of Life Decisions by Guardians,” 6th Annual Probate Law Conference, Massachusetts Bar Association (November 2018)
  • Presenter, “Clients Who Are Potential Elder Fraud or Financial Exploitation Victims: Identifying Red Flags and What Attorneys Can Do,” Boston Bar Association (November 2018)
  • Speaker, “Diminished Capacity in Clients and What to Do About It,” Trusts and Estates Consortium (September 2018)
  • Speaker, “Who, What, When, Where, Why – Payment of Fees for Guardians, Conservators and Trustees,” Plan of Massachusetts and Rhode Island Annual Conference (June 2018)
  • Speaker, “Navigating Probate Administration,” MCLE (May 2018)
  • “The Probate and Administration of Estates in Massachusetts,” MCLE Practical Lawyer Skills (February 2018)
  • Panelist, “Speed Dating – Recent State and National Cases Concerning Elders,” HalfMoon Education Inc. (October 2016)
  • Speaker, “Basic Estate Planning,” Boston Tax Institute (June 2016)