Merlino & Gonzalez - October 2022

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REALESTATEPLANNINGLAW.COM 718-698-2200 October 2022



It’s a Real Estate Miracle!


Our little boy was 2 years old at the time, and four years later, we welcomed a baby girl. The home was perfect for our children. They played up and down the hallways while I filled the back garden with hydrangeas, tulips, daffodils, forget-me-nots, lilacs, and rhododendrons. Our daughter took her first steps in that house, then walked down its center staircase in her wedding dress decades later.

When a client reaches out to me and my team for help selling their home, we always try to make the process as smooth as possible. We know it’s tough to let go of a place with so many memories! Sometimes, finding the perfect buyer is hard work, but other times, fate makes it easy. That’s exactly what happened for Robert and Iris Casciani. Keep reading to learn their heartwarming story.

Although, I am getting ahead of myself.

As the years went by, Robert and I retired from our careers in the city (he was a transit police officer while I taught middle-school Spanish), and the New York winters started to get to us. This February, we spent three months in Florida scouting out places we might like to winter. Nothing seemed quite right, until we reached the last spot on our list: the Jupiter Farms community in Jupiter, Florida. It was a storybook setting nestled close to the ocean. The morning after touring the Farms, I woke up, turned to Robert, and said, “This is the place. This is where I want to live!” He couldn’t believe it. But it didn’t take him long to come on board. Robert loved the idea of spending his retirement fishing and walking on the beach. The day we returned to New York, we put our beloved house up for sale.

As I write this, my husband Robert and I are in the car on the way to the train station. We plan to ride all the way from New York to our new home in Jupiter, Florida. It’s the first leg of what I’m sure will be an amazing journey — and it wouldn’t have been possible without Attorney John R. Merlino Jr., Esq.! But I’m getting ahead of myself. To explain this story, I need to back up a little bit. My name is Iris Casciani, and 42 years ago, Robert and I purchased our dream home on Staten Island. It is currently a beautiful 100-year-old house in the New England colonial style, with 27 windows and a lovely staircase in the two-story center hall. When you stepped inside, you could see all the way through the home to the serene backyard garden.

Making that decision wasn’t easy, and it was even harder to imagine our wonderful home in the care of another family. But one thing eased our minds: Thanks to a recommendation from our daughter, we were working with John Merlino on the sale of our house. John and Stephanie made every step of the process easy. Whenever Robert and I had a concern, they addressed it immediately. We were sure things would fall into place, and they did — in a miraculous way. The very first family that walked into our house made us an offer.




It’s World Teachers’ Day! 3 WAYS TO SHOW GRATITUDE

Handwritten notes are more meaningful than ones you buy at the store. It shows you put in time and effort to create something specifically for them. You can write about a favorite memory you had with them or the ways they’ve inspired you. If you’re feeling extra generous, add a gift card to the note! A small message can go a long way in turning someone’s day around. Volunteer when you can. In addition to teaching in the classroom, teachers need to chaperone students during field trips, recess, lunch, and standardized tests. Contact your child’s school and see when they need volunteers to help with these activities. Teachers will greatly appreciate it because they will have a chance to take a break or organize their materials for the next class. Even if it’s just for the day or a few hours, teachers will appreciate the extra assistance. Teachers play a vital role in preparing our children for the real world. They teach them vital social skills and problem-solving strategies that will assist them as they age. So, let’s take some time to show appreciation for their dedication to our children.

Teachers have impacted you and your children’s lives in more ways than one. Maybe they inspired you to take a certain career path, always understood you, or were there for you or your child when it was needed. Teachers have a demanding job, so in honor of World Teachers’ Day on Oct. 5, let’s take some time to appreciate them. Here are three ways to show your gratitude this month.

Donate school supplies. Some teachers spend personal funds to purchase school supplies for their classrooms. This expense can become costly, especially if they provide for multiple students. Donate unused notebooks, pencils, pens, or other school supplies to a teacher. Some teachers even have wish lists available if you want to purchase new items for their classrooms. They will appreciate your kindness, and the children who need these supplies will also be grateful.

Write thank-you letters. If you had a teacher who impacted your life, or if your child has a favorite teacher, write them a thank-you note.


Slow down. Try savoring the process of a task, even if it isn’t your favorite thing to do. Paying deliberate attention to your daily actions and activities, like doing the dishes or even folding laundry, promotes healthy focus and reduces feelings of being overwhelmed. Get moving. Incorporating exercise and movement into your daily routine helps you to become aware of your body’s sensations. You’ll be more appreciative of how your body responds to different stimuli and movements, and this trains you to be more aware of yourself. Practice mindful eating. Do you always eat in front of the television or computer? Try eating without distractions, dine in good company, or pay closer attention to flavors and textures of the meal — it’s good for both your body and soul!

Have you ever sat down to eat a bowl of ice cream, then looked down a minute or two later to notice you only have one bite left? What about reaching your destination in the car and not recalling one thing about the entire trip? With the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s tough to be present 100% of the time, but we shouldn’t let our minds go on autopilot. Not only can this be a safety hazard, but it may also impact important relationships and reduce our enjoyment and satisfaction.

With busy schedules and long to-do lists, how can we be more mindful? Here are four tips to help you embrace the power of now!

Use the power of meditation. You don’t need to meditate for a long time, and it certainly doesn’t require special poses or guidance. But taking just five minutes out of your day to focus on your breathing and clear your mind counts as meditation. It can help you to be more aware, present, and productive, especially in times of stress.



Do you remember the ‘80s movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”? In it, actress Edie McClurg played Grace — the sweet assistant who balanced out the egotistical Principal Rooney. Grace was a fan favorite, but the real story of McClurg’s life isn’t as cheerful as it appeared on-screen. Recently, the New York Post revealed that McClurg, who’s now in her late 70s and suffering from dementia, was a victim of elder abuse. Allegedly, a “longtime friend” has been taking advantage of her confusion to live with her rent-free, assault her caretakers, and even convince her to marry him — all in the hopes of accessing her assets. This sad situation is all too common. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 6 million cases of abuse were reported in 2010. That means about 10% of the entire senior population reported an abusive situation or predatory behavior. 3 Ways to Spot Financial Predators

moves in with your loved one, that’s a big red flag! You should also be concerned if they’re suddenly purchasing a lot of expensive, flashy items or missing cherished heirlooms. These changes can indicate financial abuse. 2. If possible, check their estate planning documents, bank accounts, and credit cards. If your loved one is being manipulated, they may make sudden changes to their will or power of attorney, start racking up credit card debt, or have strange charges to their bank accounts or credit cards. 3. Watch for signs of depression, fear, and anxiety. Your loved one may suspect someone is using them but be afraid to speak out. If their mental health starts to decline, look into elder abuse (financial, emotional, or physical) as a potential cause. What happened to Edie McClurg can happen to anyone. If you suspect your loved one is being abused, alert the authorities and call our team. Our seasoned elder law attorneys know how to protect seniors from predatory situations, and they can offer the guidance and advice you need.

Your elderly loved ones may be at risk. To protect them from financial predators, take these three actions today.

1. Look for changes in your loved one’s home and living situation. If a “new best friend” comes out of the woodwork and




I couldn’t have designed a more perfect couple to purchase our beautiful home. The couple reminded both Robert and I of ourselves 42 years ago and even had a 2-year-old little boy and 3-month-old baby girl in tow. After just one conversation, I could tell how much they adored the house and see how committed they were to maintaining it just as it was. Thanks to John’s professionalism, knowledge, and experience, the closing process was stress-free. John explained it all step by step and made the emotional moment simple. Just months after putting our house up for sale, we’re on our way to Jupiter Farms, where a wonderful four-bedroom ranch house is waiting for us. There is plenty of room there for all five of our grandchildren to visit. The backyard adjoins a horse stable and is perfect for a big flower garden. I’m already looking forward to getting my hands dirty. We can’t thank John and his team enough for making our retirement dream a reality. We were so impressed that we plan to recommend John to everyone we know.

Inspired by

These parfaits are an easy fall dessert everyone can make!


• 1/4 tsp nutmeg • 1/8 tsp ground cloves • 1 cup vanilla sandwich cookies • 8 oz whipped topping

• 3.4 oz instant vanilla pudding mix • 2 cups cold milk • 15-oz can pumpkin purée • 1/2 tsp cinnamon


1. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir in pumpkin purée, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. 2. In a blender or food processor, crush vanilla sandwich cookies into crumbs. 3. In small jars or glasses, place cookie crumbs on bottom, then pumpkin mixture, then whipped topping. Repeat these layers twice and end with cookie crumbs. 4. Chill until ready to serve!


-Iris & Robert Casciani



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


A Real Estate Miracle on Staten Island Page 1

It’s World Teachers’ Day! 4 Tips for Being More Mindful Page 2

How to Guard Against Financial Predators Pumpkin Pie Parfaits Page 3

Halloween Safety Tips Page 4


somewhere nearby or somewhere in the neighborhood. And choosing a curfew time is essential so you know when to expect their return. This way if something happens and you cannot reach them or they aren’t back in time, you have a general idea of where they can be on the route. Pack the essentials. Always make sure your child has their phone on them in case of an emergency, no matter if it’s to call you or an emergency line. You could even share locations so that you’re able to track where they are or use another location tracking app like Life360 or FamiSafe that’s available on your devices. If they plan to stay out for a while, have your child take water bottles, flashlights, and even a small first-aid kit with them. They actually come in handy when exploring the Halloween night and the unexpected happens. Older kids deserve a bit of freedom, as long as they can do it responsibly. Consider these tips to make sure the night is trick-free and full of the best treats.

Halloween is all about letting the ghoul times roll, but monsters and ghosts aren’t the only things parents need to worry about this holiday. Most older kids don’t want an adult chaperoning — they want to venture off with their friends to enjoy the night all on their own. Here are a few safety tips so that you and your older kids can enjoy the spooky evening with no worries.

Plan a route and curfew. Some older kids still love the nostalgia of

trick-or-treating, or maybe they plan to pull some Halloween pranks with their friends. Whatever the reason may be, they may want to enjoy the evening without a parent. One of the best ways to make sure they’re staying safe is to plan a route and a curfew. Pick and choose which routes you feel comfortable with them going on, either 4

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