Cona Elder Law GIVES THE GIFT OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS TO ITS EMPLOYEES AT
ESTATE PLANNING DAY ON FEBRUARY 14TH
Cona Elder Law, an elder law and estate planning firm based in Melville, continuously protects and nurtures their employees by giving back to them in unique ways.
On Valentine’s Day, the firm will close the office and offer the same type of estate planning legal services to their staff and spouses as they do for clients. Anyone who needs a new or updated will and/or advance directives (living will, health care proxy and power of attorney) will have these documents prepared and executed by Cona Elder Law attorneys and paralegals.
Donated by managing partner Jennifer Cona, Esq., more than half of the employees will avail themselves of this generous gift worth about $40,000 in staff time. “We practice what we preach,” says Ms. Cona. “We want to make sure that our staff is cared for as well as our clients.”
This complex process requires a tremendous number of hours by many staff members who handle multiple tasks that include: coordinating, distributing and collecting the document checklists; drafting the wills and advance directives; reviewing the legal documents; revisions as necessary; quality control review by another attorney; and scheduling the conference rooms with an attorney plus two witnesses to conduct each document execution ceremony.
“Although we provide estate planning documents to clients every day, we tend to neglect ourselves and back-burner our own needs,” says Ms. Cona. “We don’t want to be ‘shoe-makers without shoes’ so we are taking the time to get our own affairs in order.” Some of the employees are revising their documents due to life changes, such as the birth of a child or a divorce while others need wills or advance directives they never had before to protect themselves or their loved ones. “Don’t be mistaken - both young and old require quality estate planning,” says Ms. Cona.
Every two to five years, advance directives should be reviewed with an elder law attorney.
A living will and health care proxy are critical for health care decisions if someone becomes incapacitated. Everyone should make their medical wishes known in advance to their designated agent regarding end of life care or emergency treatment. It’s also necessary to have a power of attorney in place so that an agent can handle financial affairs if you cannot.
A new mom in her 20s, Dana, Cona Elder Law associate attorney, and her husband are having their estate planning documents drawn up for the first time. “Knowing that our end of life wishes are clearly defined is a gift to our family and will lessen the burden on them,” explains Dana. “Naming the guardian for our child was challenging, as it is for most people, and many factors had to be considered.”
Alison, a 52 year old paralegal, is also having estate planning documents prepared for the first time for herself and her husband. “With three children who are getting older, we want to be sure our assets are distributed properly,” says Alison. “What a wonderful benefit and perk Cona Elder Law is offering us.”
According to supervising paralegal Dee, “My husband and I are redoing the wills that we signed 9 years ago. Our previous wills included a trust which allocated a certain amount of money to our son, Scott, at ages 25, 30 and 35,” explains Dee. “Now that Scott is 30 and owns his own home, we feel that he will handle any inheritance wisely and so we want to give him everything outright.”
Activities like estate planning day also enhance teamwork at Cona Elder Law as many of the staff work together collaboratively to help their colleagues. “In addition, we develop creative activities where employees not only have fun but work toward achieving a common goal utilizing their special skills and talents,” says Ms. Cona. Last summer the firm organized a scavenger hunt at a museum in Suffolk County.
The firm also protects the health of their employees. That is why they started a free weekly Yoga and Pilates class in their office after work led by a yoga and Pilates instructor. Currently there are 7 – 10 people who attend regularly. The class helps them with stress relief and overall health maintenance.
Cona Elder Law is recognized as a leading elder law and estate planning firm on Long Island. The firm was ranked the #1 Elder Law firm by Long Island Business News in 2012 and 2013. The firm provides creative advocacy and cutting edge planning strategies and has been featured in many publications including: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, L.I. Business News, Kiplinger’s, Reader's Digest and many others. Cona Elder Law attorneys are frequent contributors to Newsday’s Act II “Ask the Expert” column and have appeared as guests on WNBC-TV, CNN-fn, News 12, News 55, Channel 21 "Act II With Newsday" and many radio stations including WOR, WCBS AM and WFAN.