About the Firm
Robert K. Hilton iII, Esq. - Partner
Admitted to Bar: 1994 – All New York State Courts and the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York
Practice Areas: Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Medicaid Planning and Probate and Trust Administration
Education: Hobart College, BA 1989; Vermont Law School, Juris Doctor, 1993
Memberships: Oneida County Bar Association; NY State Bar Association (Trusts and Estates & Elder Law sections); American Bar Association; and the Wealth Counsel (an estate planning association for attorneys and accountants)
Rob is an experienced estate planning and Medicaid attorney who has helped over 600 families protect assets and/or qualify for Medicaid. Born in 1966, Rob grew up in Clinton, New York, and graduated from Clinton High School in 1985 with a Regents Diploma. Thereafter, he attended Hobart College and graduated in 1989 with a degree in English. Rob went on to attend Vermont Law School and graduated in 1993 with a Juris Doctor degree. He began his legal career in Utica, NY in 1993 with the law firm of Felt, Hubbard and Bogan. He ran his own office of Pronteau, Pugliese and Hilton, from 1995 through 1999. From 1999 to 2005, he was with the law firm of Kowalczyk, Tolles and Deery as a trial attorney handling over 150 litigation matters, including litigating federal court matters in New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Rob spent three and one-half years at the Estate Planning Law Center where he learned the estate planning practice. He was a partner at Kowalczyk, Tolles, Deery and Hilton, LLP, in Utica since January 2009, practicing exclusively in estate planning, asset protection, Medicaid and post-death administration. Rob opened his own practice of Hilton Estate & Elder Law, LLC in December 2012, in Utica, New York, which quickly expanded with branch offices in Boonville, Rome and Lowville. He employs 10 local people, including two attorneys, as part of his practice.
Rob has successfully brought and prevailed in over 50 Medicaid fair hearings and multiple Article 78 proceedings against the State in the Elder Law field. He has argued in the Appellate Division and in the Court of Appeals, the highest court in the State of New York.
Rob currently resides with his family in New Hartford, coaches his children in both hockey and soccer and still plays hockey himself. Rob is involved in various community events, and is on the MARNCI and the Community of Sunset Wood.
He can be reached at (315) 624-9600 or email@example.com for a free initial consultation.
Elizabeth A. Kenny, Esq.
Admitted to Bar: 2002 – New York State
Practice Areas: Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning, including emergency nursing home cost planning and Medicaid applications for both long term and at home care.
Education: University of Scranton 1985; Seton Hall University, School of Law 1993
Memberships: NY State Bar Association (Trusts and Estates & Elder Law sections)
Elizabeth A. Kenny, Esq. joined the firm in July 2016 and has now directed her 25+ years of legal experience and education to estate and elder law. Since then, Liz has enjoyed helping clients protect and then transfer their assets to their loved ones through the use of wills/trusts and advising clients about how they (or a loved one) can qualify for Medicaid to pay for their home care, assisted living or nursing home care without losing their life’s savings.
Liz was raised in Northern New Jersey and attended Morris Catholic High School in Denville, NJ. In 1985, she earned a B.A. degree in Finance/Economics from the University of Scranton and then pursued a career in finance. She first served an internship at the Financial Futures Market in London, England and then worked as a government bond trader in New York City for L.F. Rothschild Securities and Langdon P. Cook Trading LLC. While still working on Wall Street, she attended Seton Hall School of Law in Newark, New Jersey. In 1993, she earned her Juris Doctorate in Law, concentrating on estate and trust law. She was referred to her first law job by her estate and trust professor based upon this concentration, but such job led her to work thereafter in various forms of litigation. In 1992-1993, she served an internship for the Honorable Karen Russell, Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Then from 1993 to 1999, she worked for law firms in New Jersey handling primarily bodily injury, land use, estate and trust and matrimonial litigation.
In 1999, Liz and her husband, Delmar Barnes decided to move back to his hometown of Waterville, New York in order to raise their children near the family dairy farm. After a two year break from the law to enjoy her children, Liz took a position as in house counsel for New York Central Mutual Insurance Company from 2001-2006 and then for Utica National Insurance Group from 2006 onward. During this time Liz also continued to practice law privately in various matters until joining the firm in July 2016 and then focusing upon estate, trust and elder law issues.
Liz has also been active in her community, serving on the Board of Education for the Waterville Central School (President – 2008/09; Vice President- 2007/08; Member – 2006/07) and in 2011 served as Chairperson for the Utica National Insurance Group’s United Way Campaign. She is presently a member of the Town of Sangerfield Planning Board (2015 to present), Chairperson of the St. Bernard’s Church Fall Bazaar (2014 to present) and Chairperson of the Town of Sangerfield Republican Committee (2008 to present).
Sara Czepiel - PARALEGAL
We are fortunate to have Sara as a member of our team, who brings a supportive attitude and over fourteen years of experience in the legal profession. Sara is originally from Old Forge, NY and after graduating she pursued studies at Houghton College where she ran track and played soccer and received Degrees in Political Science and History with a Pre-Law Concentration. In her spare time, Sara continues to play soccer, volleyball, kickball, golf, darts and run road races. If you don’t find her in the office, you’ll find her on the lake fishing or in the mountains on her way to becoming an Adirondack 46er.
mallory Miller - FUNDING
Mallory started in the law field as a personal injury paralegal. She is a dance teacher at Danceography and former Sitrin Utica Comette. Originally from Boonville, NY, Mallory is excited to be a part of a firm that provides legal assistance and planning to both her current and former communities. In her spare time, Mallory enjoys snowmobiling, refinishing furniture, and spending time with her family.
Christie MacLagger - PROBATE / TRUST ADMINISTRATION
Thirty-two years of experience in the local legal community with an emphasis on Surrogate’s Court work including probate, estate administration, trust administration, judicial accountings, proceedings to compromise wrongful death actions and Article 17-A guardianship proceedings. Coordination for fiduciary and estate tax reporting with accountants and or CPA’s.
Elise Cummings - EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT / DRAFTING
When you leave our office with your estate planning documents, Elise will have drafted them. While Elise is experienced working in almost every area of the office, her main role is creating the documents that state your wishes for when you are here and when you are gone. Elise was born and raised in the area and been working in the legal field for over 30 years. When she’s not working, her therapy is painting, music, flower gardening and Pound class. She is the proud stepmom of twin daughters and lives in West Frankfort with her fiancé, four dogs and cat.
Amanda Barber - PROBATE / TRUST ADMINISTRATION
Amanda has been with us since August of 2018 and has taken on the role of Probate Paralegal. Amanda is originally from Ilion, New York. After graduating, she pursued studies at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in English Writing with a Pre-Law concentration. While in Rochester, Amanda participated in the Public Law Internship offered at St. John Fisher College with the Monroe County Public Administrator’s Office at Gallo & Iacovangelo, LLP. After graduating, Amanda worked for a short time for a family law attorney and familiarized herself with divorce and family law. She then was a paralegal with a personal injury firm at Athari & Associates, LLC for six years and specialized in lead paint litigation. Amanda now handles Estates, Probate, and Trust Administration.
Serena Belmont - MEDICAID
Serena has been with the firm since September 2013. Serena brings a passion for helping others to all that she does by helping you and your family understand the Medicaid plan the attorney has put in place. Serena is here to assist you and your family through the complexities of applying for Medicaid benefits, and will act as a liaison, and advocate for you with the Department of Social Services by preparing, submitting and seeing the Medicaid application through to completion. She has successfully filed hundreds of Medicaid applications in Oneida and neighboring counties.
Serena has a B.A. in an interdisciplinary major of Communications, Technology and Art from Hamilton College and an Associate degree in Media, Marketing and Management from MVCC. She is licensed New York State Notary.
Serena lives locally with her son and 2 dogs. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, kayaking and anything that engages her artistic license.