Lawrence N. Berwitz, Esq.
Lawrence N. Berwitz (Larry) is a partner and member of the Lake Success Elder Law and Estate Planning Practice of Abrams Fensterman, LLP. Larry began his legal career as a criminal prosecutor, serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Bronx after attending St. John’s School of Law at night while working as a Police Officer in New York City. As a member of the Felony and Supreme Court Bureaus, he handled a broad range of criminal matters. Larry then became affiliated with a first-party insurance defense firm where he represented numerous insurance companies, individuals and corporations in matters ranging from insurance claims and contract disputes to estate matters. Larry then joined a well known construction law firm where he represented numerous construction companies and individuals in matters involving heavy construction claims, in the tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, estate planning and estate matters. Larry opened his own solo practice and then, together with Maureen Rothschild DiTata, in 2000, they formed their own Garden City practice devoted to estate and asset preservation planning, estate administration and elder law including: Preparation of Wills, Health Care Proxies and Powers of Attorney Creation and Implementation of Trusts Planning for Individuals with Special Needs Asset Preservation and Planning to Minimize Estate Tax Liability Medicaid Eligibility Planning / Preparation of Medicaid Applications Guardianship and the Representation of Guardians Probate and Administration of Estates and Related Litigation Pet Trusts and Planning to Protect Pets Larry’s career has brought him before the Supreme Courts in the greater New York metropolitan area as well as upstate, and the appellate courts of the First and Second Departments. Most recently, Larry successfully argued, before the Appellate Division Second Department the first case to interpret what was, at that time, the new decanting statute, EPTL §10-6.6 in which the Court ratified his argument that the statute authorized the decanting of an inter-vivos trust, following the death of the grantor, to a third-party supplemental needs trust for the beneficiary as opposed to the state’s claim that the decanting must be to a first-party supplemental needs trust. This permitted the preservation of the assets, after the death of the beneficiary, for the remainder persons preventing the assets from escheating to the state to satisfy a Medicaid claim. This case has been cited nationally and remains the law to this day. It has enured to the benefit of countless families of disabled individuals. In addition to New York State Courts, Larry has also handled matters in the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, the Southern District of Florida and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Larry is a certified mediator concerning issues that relate to his areas of practice. Larry’s extensive litigation experience and skills as a negotiator have enabled Larry to secure favorable settlements of complex estate and guardianship matters for his clients. Larry is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and serves on various committees of the New York State, Nassau County and Queens County Bar Associations dealing with trusts and estates, taxation, elder law, Surrogate’s Court practice and alternative dispute resolution. He is a former co-chair of the Nassau County Surrogate’s Court Estates & Trusts Committee and Elder Law, Social Services & Health Advocacy Committee. Larry is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Nassau, Inc. and currently serves on its Board of Directors. He has been a guest speaker on the radio, lectured at continuing education courses for attorneys for the Nassau County and New York State Bar Associations and for accountants. He has authored articles on issues concerning estate and asset preservation planning, Surrogate’s Court practice and elder law including Medicaid, Medicaid eligibility, guardians