Ms. Cona’s work involves representing, counseling and assisting seniors and their families with a complex range of legal issues, including the preservation of assets, Medicaid planning, estate planning, wealth transfer strategies, administration of estates, estate litigation, guardianships and disability planning. Under Ms. Cona’s direction, the firm has expanded its practice to include health care facility representation. Currently, GDGC represents over 50 nursing homes and assisted living facilities on Long Island and the metropolitan New York area, making Ms. Cona’s firm one of the preeminent law firms in this practice area.
Ms. Cona’s practice addresses the convergence of a client’s legal needs with social, psychological, medical and financial needs. She assists clients with planning for possible long-term care, including at-home care, assisted living and nursing home care. Her work includes locating the appropriate care, coordinating public and private resources to finance the cost and working to ensure the client’s right to quality care. Earlier this year, Ms. Cona successfully argued against healthcare budget cuts affecting the elderly, winning a Fair Hearing in Nassau County and keeping 24 hour live-in home care benefits in place for a 94 year old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Ms. Cona is a Supreme Court and Surrogate Court appointed court evaluator, guardian, Guardian ad Litem and counsel for incapacitated persons. She is an advocate for those with limited access to the legal system and has lobbied on Capitol Hill on behalf of the NOW Legal Defense Fund. Ms. Cona was the keynote speaker at the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) Coping and Caring Conference in 2004. Appointed to the Legal Advisory Board of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF), Ms. Cona provides legal advice and direction on the issues facing individuals afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Visiting Nurse Association of Long Island and is the founder and chair of the New York Advanced Elder Law Focus Group. Ms. Cona’s firm is a member of the New York Health Facilities Association, Intercounty Health Facilities Association, and the Long Island Association.
Ms. Cona is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for her business acumen and commitment to the community. Ms. Cona was honored in 2008 as one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in Business. In 2007, she was featured in Long Island Business News’ Who’s Who in Women in Professional Services and was recently named by Long Island Business News as one of five attorneys in its Ones to Watch column. In 2003, she was named among Long Island Business News’ 40 Rising Stars Under 40. In 2004, Ms. Cona was honored by Touro Law School with the Outstanding Pro Bono Attorney award for her legal services provided to a severely disabled woman.
In 2007, Ms. Cona launched GDGC Charitable Events, a not-for-profit organization committed to enhancing the quality of life for the elderly and the underprivileged. She spearheads various community outreach programs including the GDGC Annual Mother’s Day Blossoms event in which students from local elementary schools bring hundreds of corsages to women in nursing homes across Long Island on Mother’s Day and the GDGC Elder Advocacy Scholarship Awards created to recognize local graduating students who have enriched the lives of seniors. Ms. Cona dedicates her time to raising money for charitable causes including Long Island’s Fight for Charity and GDGC’s annual Midnight Run relief mission to hand deliver food and warm clothes to New York City’s homeless.
A dynamic speaker, Ms. Cona is a frequent lecturer on Elder Law and Estate Planning, addressing both local and national professional organizations and community groups. She founded and sponsors a series of seminars entitled The Senior Strategies Conference which provides guidance on asset protection, estate planning, long term care and senior housing options.
Ms. Cona has been featured in both local and national media and is frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, Long Island Business News, New York Law Journal, CPA Wealth Provider, Nassau Lawyer and Suffolk Lawyer and has been featured numerous times in Newsday’s Ask the Expert column. She has appeared as a legal expert on CNN, WNBC News, News 12 Television, News 55, Channel 21, WBLI Radio, WOR and WFAN.
Ms. Cona has authored numerous articles, including such titles as: Medicaid Reform and the Deficit Reduction Act; Proposed Medicaid Reforms Would Hurt LI Seniors; Nursing Homes in a Budget Pinch; When Planning for Medicaid Leads to Estate Litigation and Saving an Inheritance.
Ms. Cona is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Elder Law and Trusts and Estates Section of the New York State Bar Association, the Suffolk County Bar Association Elder Law Section, the Nassau County Bar Association Committee on Elder Law, the Committee on Surrogate’s Court, Estates and Trusts, the Estate Planning Council of Nassau County and the Senior Umbrella Network of Nassau. Previously, Ms. Cona served as a judicial clerk for the Office of Administrative Law in New Jersey where she prepared Medicaid regulatory decisions for 17 judges.
Ms. Cona received her Juris Doctor Degree with honors from the University of Connecticut School of Law and was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1997. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree cum laude with high honors in liberal arts from William Smith College.
J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law, 1996 Honors B.A., William Smith College, 1991 cum laude, with High Honors
Professional & Bar Association Memberships:
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) New York State Bar Association Elder Law and Trust and Estates Section Nassau County Bar Association Committee on Elder Law, Social Services and Health Advocacy Committee on Surrogate’s Court, Estates and Trusts Suffolk County Bar AssociationElder Law Section Estate Planning Council of Nassau County Senior Umbrella Network of Nassau Visiting Nurse Association of Long Island (VNA) Board of Directors Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) Legal Advisory Board New York Advanced Elder Law Focus Group Founder