Merlino & Gonzalez - January 2023

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REALESTATEPLANNINGLAW.COM 718-698-2200 January 2023



Meet 2 Proud Grandparents Turned Clients WE HELPED THE MCCANNS PLAN THEIR LEGACY!

Luckily, when we brought the issue up to Dylan and Daniel, they had a solution. It turns out that both of them worked with the real estate attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez when they closed on their houses here on Staten Island. The boys recommended we call Ken Gonzalez for help — and man, am I glad we did. Ken sat down with us and laid out all of our options. The process was very comfortable, and we laughed the whole time, even though the topic was serious. Anna told me that working with Ken and the team felt like working with family, and she was exactly right. Ken helped us divvy up our money and explained what would happen if — God forbid — one of us ended up in the hospital. We left feeling a whole lot wiser and more organized than we were going in. Even though we knew next to nothing about money and handling all of those numbers, the team at Merlino & Gonzalez made it easy. Now that we have our estate planning wrapped up, we can finally focus on our real mission: getting Anna into retirement. She’s been working the front desk at a doctor’s office for years, and the pandemic was rough. She’s ready to turn in her name tag and spend more time gardening, cooking, resting, and playing with our grandson. Hopefully, she’ll be home this spring, and we’ll have more tomatoes, cucumbers, and flowers than ever.

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of helping Daniel and Anna McCann with their estate planning needs. We had a great time chatting and laughing during the process, and I learned about their family — including their baby grandson. I enjoyed talking with the McCanns so much that I invited them to share their story in our newsletter. I hope you enjoy it! My name is Daniel, but you can call me Dan for short. I share my name with two of the most important people in my life — my son and my grandson. In fact, my grandson is the fifth generation of Daniels in the family! Not only do the two Daniels keep things interesting for me and my wife, Anna, but they’re also part of the reason we called Merlino & Gonzalez. When baby Daniel was born last January, Anna and I realized we weren’t getting any younger. Heck, we’re grandparents! We figured it was about time to protect our assets and make sure that our house and everything we worked for went to our children (Daniel and Dylan) and grandchildren without the government swooping in to take 100% of it. Anna and I talked about it, and we concluded that we didn’t want to wait until we ended up in a car accident or one of us got sick to put our ducks in a row. It was time to do some estate planning. There was only one problem: We didn’t have a lawyer!

As for me, I’m happy to keep my job working in the pool business. I’ve been at it for 30 years and still enjoy the work. It’s challenging, it keeps me busy, and there’s something to do year-round. Even now, we’re installing indoor pools and working outside, weather permitting! Anna likes to say that when I die, she’ll just throw me in a pool and cement over it. I don’t have a problem with that! In the meantime, Anna and I are looking forward to little Daniel’s first birthday. He’s turning 1 on January 6 th , and the kids plan to throw a big party at the Knights of Columbus. We can’t wait to watch him smash his cake.

From our family to yours, Happy New Year!

–Daniel & Anna McCann




provides a significant brain boost, and studies show camaraderie increases positive thoughts and feelings. On top of feeling better, volunteering keeps your mind agile. By working hard to solve a problem, you’re using more neural pathways, which helps keep mental decline at bay. You form connections. As we mentioned earlier, when you show up to volunteer, others usually attend for the same reason. Socializing with the group can help you feel less isolated and more connected to others, and some of these people may even become friends when the job is complete. If you want to get active but don’t know of volunteer opportunities in your area, visit and enter your zip code to find local in-person options. Help yourself and others by making volunteer work your go-to exercise!

It moves you. Volunteering offers different ways to move your body! Even small things like strolling through a park to pick up litter, navigating around a soup kitchen, or directing visitors at your local donation center keep you active. Most organizations are happy to modify more strenuous activities (like lifting heavy boxes or walking up a steep hill) to fit

your abilities. So, even if you’re just beginning an exercise habit, volunteering is a perfect initial step in your fitness journey. Your brain expands. When you volunteer with others, you usually have a common goal, like feeding the community, cleaning up a park, or planting a garden. Joining others to accomplish a task

Staying active is increasingly vital to our health as we age. But pain, injury, or the lack of an exercise location can limit how we keep fit. But luckily, there is an easy way to have an active lifestyle without lifting weights or joining a gym: volunteer! Here are three reasons volunteering can be your new favorite exercise if you’re looking to flex some physical, mental, or social “muscle.”


Meet an Uber Driver-Turned-Hometown Hero

people fled the building, Sam asked if everyone was out. Someone said there were still people inside. Without hesitation, Sam ran through the building and found a woman who was hesitant about leaving. He convinced her to go and brought her to safety, and then he returned to help another man get out of the building. Once he saw firefighters on the scene, Sam returned to his vehicle and proceeded to drop his passenger off at the airport. She still made her flight, even with their impromptu stop.

We all like to imagine we would do whatever it takes to help others if we witnessed a tragedy, such as a house fire or car accident. We see it all the time when watching our favorite shows and movies, but these random heroic acts rarely happen in real life. When they do, they’re awe- inspiring. One New York City man was faced with one of these harrowing situations and showed tremendous courage when he helped save lives, all while on the clock. Fritz Sam works as an Uber driver in New York City. He had just picked up a passenger and was taking her to LaGuardia Airport when he noticed a hectic scene in a Brooklyn neighborhood. He soon saw flames and dark smoke emerging from a second-story window of an apartment building. He asked his passenger if he could pull over to offer help.

When talking to TODAY, Sam stated, “You’d be surprised what little things we do that can be impactful. Because, trust me, those little things are going to make a big difference for somebody.” It’s safe to say that very few people consider Sam’s actions a “little thing.” He acted heroically and is an inspiration to many.

In a statement to TODAY, Uber said, “We’re incredibly grateful to have such a heroic and thoughtful member of our community in Fritz. He went above and beyond to keep his neighbors in New York safe — and still managed to get his rider to the airport on time.”

He approached a group of bystanders, yelling for people to get out of the residence. As


DID YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT EXECUTOR? How to Estate Plan the Smart Way

• Do you trust this person implicitly? • Will they have time to interrupt their work/family life to handle your estate? • Can this person be honest and objective in carrying out your wishes, even if they go against their own best interests? • Does this person have excellent organizational skills? • Will this person be able to keep the peace within your family, or are they prone to losing their temper or causing conflict? • Is this person likely to outlive you? • Are they quick-thinking and able to pick up new skills easily? • Would this person welcome the opportunity to be your executor, or would they prefer not to take the job? When you find a person who matches all these criteria, you’ll have the perfect executor! If you’d like to update your estate plan (or start the planning process), our team can help. Call us at 718-698-2200 to schedule an appointment.

If you’ve already completed your estate plan, do us a favor and picture the person you chose as the executor of your estate. How long did it take you to select them for the job? Did you pick their name on a whim just because they’re your oldest child, favorite sibling, or best friend? Or did you take the time to consider your choice carefully? Hopefully, you answered “yes” to that last question! Assigning your executor isn’t something you should take lightly. Your executor handles all of the most critical work related to your estate after you pass away, like paying administrative fees, bills, and taxes; managing your assets during the probate process; and ensuring your will is carried out. It’s essential you choose a responsible, trustworthy person for the job who can dodge family drama and soothe any hurt feelings your wishes might cause. If you’re having doubts about your executor after reading that description, don’t worry! It’s not too late to update your estate plan. When you choose a new executor, consider these questions inspired by Erin Gilmore Smith, our fellow estate planning attorney.





• Dash of crushed red pepper flakes • 10 cups fresh baby spinach (about 10 oz) • 6 small tomatoes, cut into 1/2- inch pieces • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

• 3 tsp olive oil, divided • 4 salmon fillets (6 oz each) • 1 1/2 tsp reduced-sodium seafood seasoning • 1/4 tsp pepper • 1 garlic clove, sliced


1. Preheat air fryer to 450 F. Rub 1 tsp oil over both sides of salmon, then sprinkle with seafood seasoning and pepper. In a greased air fryer basket, place salmon. 2. Cook about 10–12 minutes until fish flakes easily. 3. In a 6-qt stockpot, place remaining oil, garlic, and pepper flakes. Heat over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Stir in tomatoes; heat through. 4. In a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil. Cook until vinegar is reduced by half, then remove from heat. 5. Arrange spinach on serving dish. Place salmon over spinach mixture and drizzle with balsamic glaze.



394 Manor Road Staten Island, NY 10314



718-698-2200 |


Meet Grandma and Grandpa McCann Page 1

Volunteer to Stay Active How an Uber Driver Became a Hero Page 2

Choose the Best Executor for Your Estate Air Fryer Roasted Salmon With Sautéed Balsamic Spinach Page 3

3 Unique Winter Activities to Experience Page 4

to visit Alaska. One of the coolest adventures you can experience is a snowmobile tour. You can hop aboard a snowmobile and ride the same path as the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race or visit some beautiful mountains and glaciers. Many of these tours will lead you right past moose, bears, and caribou as you take in the beauty of Alaska’s environment.


Skating on Mirror Lake at Lake Placid Lake Placid, New York, had the privilege of hosting the Winter Olympics twice, so it’s no surprise they have some amazing cold weather activities to showcase. A truly exceptional experience is skating on Mirror Lake. They have a 2-mile-long ice track where you can test your speed and areas for people to skate openly or play a game of ice hockey. You can even participate in dog sledding there. It’s a beautiful area filled with various winter activities. Ice Fishing Excursions in Brainerd, Minnesota While fishing might be more commonly known as a spring or summer activity, you can get plenty of fishing done in the winter if you know where to go. Brainerd is considered one of the best places to visit for ice fishing enthusiasts. There are over 300 fishing lakes near the city, and you can expect to catch bluegill, walleye, largemouth bass, yellow perch, northern pike, and many others. If you like to fish throughout the year, check out Brainerd.

Check Out These 3 Unique Activities

Throughout winter, we have the opportunity to participate in many activities that are only possible during this season. We can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, sled, and more. While some people fly south for winter vacations to escape the cold weather, others travel to extraordinary winter destinations within our country. Plenty of options are available if you’re looking for a truly unique experience this winter. Here are three winter activities that will leave you with long-lasting memories. Snowmobile Tours in Alaska Alaska is one of America’s hidden gems, even though it’s the biggest U.S. state. If you’re looking for unique winter experiences, you’ll want 4

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