Merlino & Gonzalez - March 2021



For example, married couples hold property jointly in a manner that not only offers protection from creditors but also automatically transfers the property to the surviving spouse upon the first spouse’s death. But for single people, their assets are usually not jointly held and must be bequeathed in a will or trust and by the designation of beneficiary forms. Life insurance and certain pension/retirement accounts are examples of non-probate assets that transfer to the designated beneficiary directly upon death — without the need for court proceedings. Comprehensive estate plans not only plan for death, but they also plan for disability. Singles need a trusted person to take care of their financial affairs (i.e., pay the bills, etc.) in the event that they become incapable of doing it themselves. There are also medical powers of attorney that allow the agent to make decisions on the maker’s behalf if they become unable to do so themselves. Living wills allow the maker to list the medical treatments they would or would not want if they became terminally ill and unable to make their own health care decisions. Finally, a HIPAA authorization is a document that allows the release of your medical information to the person you designate. As you can see, an estate plan needs to be unique to the person it covers. For a plan like that — and answers to all of your questions — contact our offices at 718-698-2200.

Very often, estate planning and retirement planning go hand in hand. But before your estate planning attorney can customize an estate plan for you, you’ll need to provide a clear picture of your finances — including assets and liabilities. You also need to know how your property is held since that will impact transference to someone else now or after you’re gone. For single people, these processes might look a little different than you’d expect. Particularly important estate planning issues for singles are financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney/health care proxy, and last will and testament.

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only person who could benefit from those notes. After all, if I found solace in the writing of others, like Peggy Huddleston’s “Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster,” perhaps others would find comfort in my own writings. This realization came about as the result of encouragement from people close to me — and the seed for my book was born. Writing took a few years, but knowing that I’d survived this disease meant I could survive writing a book, too! But, as any author will tell you, writing is only part of the battle. The book was finished long ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I was able to find a publisher. “This is a great story,” one told me, “but it’s only about breast cancer, and we’d need more.” Comments like that were painfully common — but they also proved to me that women with my experience clearly didn’t have the representation they needed! At the end of the day, “Just Diagnosed: Breast Cancer” found its home, and I had an incredible amount of control over its design, marketing, and production, which is a rare experience for authors. I persevered because I don’t believe that my experience is unique. Far from it: It’s all too common. And that was why I needed to share this with the world — because I’m not the only woman who has just been diagnosed. I’m not the only person who has been afraid and confused. That happens every day, in fact, and if my own journey can help others, then all the better. You can find “Just Diagnosed: Breast Cancer” online at or on Amazon. My only hope is that it provides the kind of comfort that I myself desperately needed at one time in my life.

Inspired by


• 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 onion, chopped • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced • 4 cups broccoli, chopped to bite‑size pieces • 4 cloves garlic, minced • 5 cups jasmine rice, cooked and cooled • 1/2 cup peanuts, chopped • 2 tbsp soy sauce • Toppings of choice for serving (sliced green onions, sliced cucumber, chopped peanuts, lime wedges, Sriracha, etc.)


1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes, until softened. 2. Add the mushrooms and broccoli. Cook for 5–7 minutes, until the broccoli is tender. 3. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. 4. Finally, add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 3–4 minutes. 5. Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the peanuts and soy sauce. 6. Serve garnished with your toppings.

–Arlene M. Karole



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