On-Demand Webinar | Secure Your Legacy: Estate Planning Essentials

March 28, 2024

In working with thousands of families to plan their financial future, a common question we get is “Do I need to consider a trust?” In this session, we will be covering Trust basics to get the thought process started. Whether you have an established estate plan or are at the front end of your Estate planning process, we are here to equip you for the conversations you will want to have with your advisor and trust & estate attorneys down the road.

On Wednesday, March 27 at 12 PM EST, GYL held a webinar to review the basics on preparing for your own Estate plan and highlighted key considerations that one should make when getting started or gearing up for meetings with your financial advisor. Cara Freedman, JD, Focus Fiduciary Solutions Vice President at Focus Financial Partners, Melissa Ciotoli, CFP®, CDFA®, Managing Director and Senior Wealth Advisor at GYL Financial Synergies, and Rosa D. Cadena, GYL Financial Synergies Chief Compliance Officer, shared valuable insights into:

  • Basic Estate Planning Documents Every Person Should Have
  • When to Consider a Trust
  • Living Trusts and Irrevocable Trusts


Meet the Presenters

Cara Freedman, JD

Cara Freedman helps run the Fiduciary Solutions team at Focus Financial Partners.  Working with our Focus partner firm advisors and their clients, Cara assists with all elements of trust and estate planning, including document reviews, advising on trustee solutions, as well estate planning education and general guidance.  

A native of south Florida, Cara received her Bachelor’s Degree from Yale University. She earned her law degree from Columbia Law School where she had the privilege of serving as Editor in Chief of the Business Law Review and was named a Kent Scholar. 

Prior to joining Focus Financial, Cara was an associate at the boutique law firm, Katz Baskies & Wolf, PLLC in Boca Raton, FL where she worked with high-net-worth individuals and their families in implementing sophisticated estate planning techniques. She assisted clients to help them develop estate plans which would maximize and protect the transfer of wealth to future generations, as well as to achieve their philanthropic and charitable goals.

Cara began her career as a Series 7 broker and wealth manager at Lehman Brothers in Miami and Palm Beach where she helped to build and grow and private wealth management team.  

Cara is a member of the Florida Bar and the South Palm Beach County Bar Association. She is a Trustee of the Jacobson Jewish Community Foundation and serves on the South Palm Beach County Federation Professional Advisory Committee. As an active member in the community, Cara also serves as a member of the board of directors of Katz Yeshiva High School and the South Palm Beach County of Jewish National Fund.  Cara previously served as a member of the executive board of Boca Raton Synagogue, AIPAC Executive Council for South Palm Beach County and other charitable organizations in south Florida. 

Melissa Ciotoli, CFP®, CDFA®

Melissa is a Managing Director and Senior Wealth Advisor at GYL Financial Synergies. She works closely with clients and their families to help them achieve their financial goals, advising on investment management, financial planning, and asset allocation. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® professional. Melissa is also experienced in working with clients who need advice before, during, and after divorce, and is a member of GYL’s Investment Policy Committee.

Melissa brings over 25 years of experience in financial services. Prior to GYL, she was a Senior Wealth Advisor at Resnick Advisors, and has previous experience at Morgan Stanley, Price Financial Group and Barnum Wealth Management. Melissa received a B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She is a current member of the Estate Planning Council of Lower Fairfield County.

Rosa D. Cadena

Rosa joined the firm in May 2017 as a Client Associate and is currently on the Compliance and Operations Team as Chief Compliance Officer. She has over 10 years of experience in the financial services industry. Rosa received her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and her MBA at the University of Bridgeport. Rosa is Series 65 registered.