Merlino & Gonzalez June 2017

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JUNE 2017





Introducing Ken Gonzalez

If there’s one thing that I want people to know when they work with us, it’s that they can count on a continuing relationship. At Merlino & Gonzalez, we don’t just help people set up an elder plan or trust; we guide people through issues that can be complicated and emotional. For us, it’s not enough to be industry experts — we want to make real, human connections with our clients. My dad is 92, and my mom is in her 80s, which means I’m going through the same process as a lot of my clients. I like to say that I’m on the level with them. I come from an incredibly close family, and I want the best for my parents. I mean, who wouldn’t? Making sure they are happy and cared for means the world to me, and I put the same passion into every estate plan we work on. Whether you’re having your first child or you’re ready to protect your assets from the high cost of nursing homes, or any stage in between, you can count on us to be thorough, compassionate, and forward-thinking. For a lot of people, the first time they need a lawyer is when they acquire real estate. That’s often the starting point for our relationships with our clients, but it’s rarely the end of it. Once you make your first phone call to us, our door is always open. If we can help you with something, we’ll do everything we can for you. Settling an estate or trust, for example, can be a long, protracted process. It’s a lot easier to take on, however, when you have an expert with you every step of the way. Whenever I can do something to enlighten people about complex legal matters, I feel what I’m doing is valuable. If somebody comes into the office worried, I want them to leave with peace of mind. Outside of my work here, I love spending time with my wife and two sons. Joanne, my wife, is an incredible mother, and our two boys, Ryan and Sean, never cease to amaze me. They play baseball and soccer, so watching them compete gives me a ton of joy. They love sports,

and I love seeing their efforts play out on the field. I play a little tennis myself, and like to think I’m not too bad. At any rate, it’s a lot more fun for me than going to the gym. Another passion of mine is travel. Our family has gone to Mexico a few times, and we’re going on a cruise pretty soon. These trips give us the chance to experience new cultures, taste new foods, and have new adventures. If you asked me for my dream destination, it would probably be the Canary

Islands. My family is from there, and I’ve never been able to visit. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to cross it off the list. As someone with strong family values, it matters to me that the families I work with get the best service they can. If you ever need to call on us, know that you’ll be treated with respect and care. We love helping people, and we never get tired of educating our clients on the ways they can provide for the people who matter most to them.



Audiobooks Inspire a Love of Stories in All Ages SUMMER READING FOR BUSY FAMILIES

into literature. Here are a few great audiobooks you can introduce to your family this summer.

of siblings Jane, Mark, Katharine, and Martha, who discover a magic wish-granting coin. They soon realize the coin only grants half of what they wish for, and an unplanned vacation to the Sahara, followed by chaos in King Arthur’s court, is just a one of the hilarious misadventures this family must overcome together. For Something Entirely New “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown, read by Kate Atwater When lonely robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she finds she’s trapped on a wild island. Struggling to survive and befriend the island’s hostile animal inhabitants, Roz must eventually face her mysterious past, which threatens to tear her home apart. This brand-new book is a stunning tale about the environment, technology, and the wonder of being alive. These are just a few of the many titles your family can enjoy this summer. Find even more by visiting or checking the audiobooks catalogue on iTunes.

For the Long Road Trip “The Bad Beginning” (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket, read by Tim Curry When a terrible fire destroys the Baudelaire mansion, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny find themselves orphans and are sent to live with the terrible Count Olaf. Convinced their awful new guardian is only after their fortune, the Baudelaires must use their intelligence and skills to stick together and (maybe) overcome their sad circumstances. Fans of the Netflix series will love to hear the story that started it all! Who knew such an unfortunate series could mean fun for the whole family? For Family Bonding “Half Magic” by Edward Eager, read by Words Take Wing A beloved family favorite since it was first published in 1954, “Half Magic” tells the story

Summer reading lists are always popular, but most families rarely have time to have dinner together, let alone sit still reading for hours. Luckily, the ever-growing popularity of audiobooks means you don’t have to wait for school to start again for your kids to get back


Our First Annual Cinco de Mayo Party

Ever since we moved into our new office, we’ve been trying to think of a way to celebrate. We love being able to get our business associates together to have a little fun, rather than hashing out legal matters or resolving estates. To this end, we recently held what we hope will be the first of an annual tradition — a Cinco de Mayo party. It was a big hit, and we think it will become even bigger next year. Ken Gonzalez, one of our founding partners, actually spent years working in a Spanish restaurant while he was going to school. During this time, he had the opportunity to perfect his sangria recipe down to a science. Given how popular the pitchers were

at our party, we think our clients would agree. Who knew that Ken’s expertise went beyond real estate and elder law into the world of mixology? People have even been calling the office just to inquire about the ingredients he uses. Appreciation events like these are a staple of Merlino & Gonzalez, and we’re always on the lookout for new ways to say thanks to the wonderful people we work with every day. If you want to stay abreast of upcoming events like our Cinco de Mayo party, this newsletter will be the place to do it. We look forward to announcing our next party, and we hope to hold events for our clients in the future. Oh, and if you pester Ken enough, he may even give up his recipe!



There are a million reasons why people put off seeing an estate planning attorney. Maybe they’re uncomfortable with the thought of dying, or maybe they can’t decide on legal guardians for their children. More commonly, people think that they’re too young to plan their estates and that they have plenty of time. In reality, nearly everyone can benefit from proper estate planning — or be hurt by their failure to look ahead. When you die, all of your property must pass to somebody. While some of it might pass automatically to a specific person depending on its type and how it’s held, other possessions require a formal directive, like instructions given in a last will or trust. An experienced estate planning attorney will examine your assets, family dynamic, and goals for the distribution of those assets to develop an estate plan that will minimize MEMES

potential estate taxes and other costs. This will enable those assets to pass to your loved ones as quickly as possible. Beyond your last will or trust, a robust estate plan will include other documents, like a durable power of attorney, health care proxy, or a living will. These documents typically only take effect if you become disabled or incapacitated. A durable power of attorney enables an appointed person to manage your financial affairs if you become incapacitated. Meanwhile, a health care proxy allows you to designate a person or group of people to make decisions in regards to medical treatment if you don’t have the capacity. A living will outlines the treatment you would like to have in the event you become unconscious, terminally ill, or unable to communicate. It may be uncomfortable to face your mortality, but it’s vital that you’re prepared for the unknown. With a proper estate plan, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that your loved ones and family will be provided for and protected, regardless of what the future holds. EASIEST CHICKPEA CURRY MICHELE’S RECIPE CORNER


• 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1 large yellow onion, diced • 3 garlic cloves, minced • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick • Pinch of ground cloves

• 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained • 3 tablespoons ketchup • Salt and pepper, to taste • Chopped cilantro (optional) • Lemon wedges (optional) 4. Add chickpeas, ketchup, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. 5. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high; cook until sauce is slightly reduced, for 5 minutes. 6. Serve with chopped cilantro and lemon wedges, if desired.


1. In a large straight-sided skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. 2. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until dark brown around edges, for about 6 minutes. 3. Add garlic, curry, cinnamon, and cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, for 30 seconds.




394 Manor Rd, Staten Island, NY 10314



Lawyer, Father, Family Man Audiobooks Your Family Will Love What’s Going on at the Office? Why You Should Start Planning Your Estate — and Soon Easiest Chickpea Curry Yellowstone: Where the Wild Things Are

Make sure to check out Old Faithful, the most famous geothermal geyser in the world, with eruptions averaging a whopping 130 vertical feet. Or if it’s majesty and exploration you’re itching for, hike one of the many trails along the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The views across the Yellowstone River, with clay cliff faces and tree-covered mountains in every direction, are unlike any other. Also, be sure to investigate the Grand Prismatic Spring, which, besides its otherworldly rainbow waters, is known for being the largest hot spring in the U.S. For many, though, the biggest draw of the park is the wildlife. Yellowstone is home to the largest bison population on public land. It houses more mammals than anywhere else in the lower 48 states, 150 species of birds, and huge populations of native fish, to name a few. Just driving around the park, you’re apt to see moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, and, if you’re lucky, grizzly bears, mountain lions, or wolves. Go boating, catch a fish, scale a mountain, ride a horse — the things to do vary as much as the breathtaking landscape. If you’re looking for an affordable, relaxed, and wide-open family vacation this summer, Yellowstone is a no-brainer. WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE The Unspoiled Natural Majesty of Yellowstone National Park

This summer, skip the expensive hustle and bustle of an overcrowded theme park. After a vacation like that, you’ll feel like you need another. As far as getaway destinations go, Yellowstone National Park, sprawling across Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, is a little more expansive. More than 3 million visitors flock to its astonishing peaks, multicolored pools, and dramatic geothermal geysers each year, but as you travel across Yellowstone’s 2.2 million acres, it’s unlikely you’ll see much of them. And the sheer variety of unparalleled activities to explore means fun for the whole family. 4

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