Deborah J. Tedford is an attorney and principal in the Tedford Law Firm of
Mystic, Connecticut. She graduated from Yale University, cum laude in 1972, in one of
the first classes to include women, and from Boston University School of Law in 1976.
She is also a qualified mediator, having completed 40 hours of training.
Deb was elected President of the Connecticut Bar Association, an organization of
over 11,000 members, for the year 2002-2003, and previously served as Secretary and
Vice President of that organization. She is the past chairman of the Connecticut Bar
Association’s Estates and Probate Section and also of its Elder Law Section. She was
founding editor of the Estates and Probate Newsletter and a past president of the
Southeastern Connecticut Estate and Tax Planning Council. She currently is co-Chair of
the CBA’s annual Federal Tax Institute of New England.
Deb was elected a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel
(ACTEC) in 1992; was elected as a fellow of the Connecticut Bar Foundation in 1995;
and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in 2012. She recently served three years as
Chair of the Elder Law Committee of ACTEC, is a former Regent of the College and is
the current Connecticut State Chair. She is a member of ACTEC’s Fiduciary Litigation
Committee, the ACTEC/National College of Probate Judges Task Force and has served
on a number of other administrative committees for the college. She is a member of the
Special Needs Alliance. Deb has been named one of the Top Twenty-Five Women Super
Lawyers in Connecticut as well as one of state’s top trusts and estates lawyers by Best’s.
As part of her service to the Bar and her profession, Deb co-chaired and was the
principal author of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Report of the Task Force on the
Future of the Connecticut Probate System, published in May 2003. She worked for years
with colleagues on a Connecticut version of the Uniform Trust Code, successfully passed
on June 4, 2019. Deb has testified before Connecticut’s Finance Committee on the effects
of the estate tax laws in Connecticut and has also testified in favor of special needs trusts
for the disabled. She served as ACTEC’s observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s
amended model guardianship and conservatorship laws, and is now observer to the
ULC’s drafting committee revising the Uniform Health Care Decisions Act. Finally, she
serves on ACTEC’s SECURE Act Task Force to provide guidance requested by the U.S.
Treasury for new regulations on retirement plan payout rules, focusing on Eligible
Designated Beneficiaries, AMBTs and disability trusts.
Deb is a frequent speaker at the state and national levels on topics related to the
field of trust and estates. She has written several chapters in the book Estate Planning for
Modern Families from the Stephen Leimberg Library; and a chapter on Connecticut’s
new DAPT law in the ABA publication, Domestic Asset Protection Trusts, edited by
Alexander Bove, Jr.