We know that it’s never easy to lose a loved one. We’ve also experienced what an honor it is to be trusted to carry out that loved one’s wishes after they’re gone. Along with this honor, though, comes a big responsibility, one that can often lead to anxiety and frustration. Settling an estate is a big deal, especially while trying to maintain family harmony.

Expedient and professional in all their work

I have dealt with numerous attorneys in my career with regard to settling estate matters. John R. Merlino Jr. and Ken Gonzalez are the best. They are thorough, expedient and professional in all their work. Too often an attorney’s service doesn’t live up to the sales pitch in the beginning. Large or small, John and Ken follow through and get the job done. I would recommend anyone in need of Estate or Probate work to contact Merlino and Gonzalez.

— Mark C.
Extremely thorough and attentive to their client’s

Merlino & Gonzalez are both extremely thorough and attentive to their client’s needs. Always making themselves available and return calls directly throughout the process. These comments are the positive feedback I hear back from my clients and what I have experienced myself. Great group to deal with.

— Master Associates
Thank you for all you help, guidance and support

Hi Ken – I know we still have some items to cover down the road, but I did want to take the opportunity to thank you for all you help, guidance and support. This sale had some twists and turns and your patience and advice were very much appreciated. Your responsiveness to questions and concerns as well as you going out of your way to see that today’s closing was as seamless as possible says a great deal about you as a lawyer and a person.

— Joann
Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

At Merlino & Gonzalez, we believe that wrapping up the affairs of a loved one should never feel like a burden, or worse, a type of punishment. Instead, it should be seen as a sign of mutual respect between you and the deceased. After all, they put their faith in you to see out their wishes. We want settling an estate to be done in love, and never in anger.

Which is why we created our Estate and Trust Settlement Road Map


Step 2

Schedule an appointment to discuss your responsibilities as part of the settlement process, and learn how we can guide you along.

Step 3

We will obtain your authority to act on behalf of the deceased so that you can begin collecting assets, paying bills, and finally, making distributions to the intended beneficiaries.

Step 4

We will work closely with you, and your accountant if necessary, to ensure that you are satisfying all of the decedent’s bills in a timely manner, not exposing any estate/trust assets to unnecessary market risks which could affect their value, and not exposing yourself to any personal liability.

Step 5

We will make sure that all of the decedent’s wishes are carried out in an efficient and respectful way without creating unnecessary stress on you.

Step 6

Feel secure that you’ve carried out the wishes of your loved one in the manner they desired and played a crucial part in securing their legacy.

Our Agreement with you

We understand that gathering and distributing a lifetime’s worth of work and memories can be stressful. Often, settling an estate creates family strife and takes an emotional toll. Those left behind, however, should treat the deceased with respect and charity. No matter how trying the process, you deserve a law firm that is sensitive and respectful of your recent loss. Therefore, at our office, we agree that…..

  • You will always feel welcome and never rushed.
  • You will be greeted with a hot cup of coffee and a warm atmosphere.
  • You will be entering a courteous and respectful environment.
  • You will find a full jar of candy in our reception area.
  • Phone calls will be answered by a live human being familiar with your concerns and messages will be returned within 24 hours.
  • All consultations will be conducted by an attorney.
  • You will have a clear understanding of the estate and trust settlement process following your consultation at our office.
  • You will be provided with periodic updates to let you know how things are progressing.
  • You will have access to an attorney for ongoing counseling before, during, and after the estate is settled.
  • You will be given a flexible schedule for booking appointments.
  • All documents relating to the estate/trust settlement documents will be fully explained to you before you sign them.

Let Us Be Your Guide!

During times like these, you may be reflecting on the history of your family. Commemorating the life and accomplishments of the recently departed may fill you with pride. We invite you to go a step further. As our client, we would like to offer you a free 6 month U.S. Discovery Family Tree Resource or AncestryDNA service from Ancestry.com.

Follow our path to avoid...

  • Awkward family dinner conversations.
  • The decedent’s property ending up in the hands of an ex-spouse or unintended beneficiaries.
  • Gossiping family and neighbors who question where “all the money went.”
  • Costly estate litigation tying up assets for months or years.
  • Losing control of your authority to act on behalf of the decedent.
  • Leaving the legacy of a bitter and divided family.
  • The burden of unpaid bills piling up.
  • Estate assets being frozen or seized by creditors.
  • Not being able to wrap things up so that family members can move on with their lives.
  • Someone else deciding who is in charge of the decedent’s possessions.
  • Not being able to provide for the disabled loved ones of the deceased or allowing them to lose any government benefits.
  • Someone else deciding who inherits the property of the deceased.
  • Losing everything the deceased worked a lifetime to build to an outside entity like a nursing home.
  • Prohibiting the family from having the peace of mind they deserve.
  • Not knowing that you are helping insure a legacy that the decedent’s children and future generations will be proud of.
  • Creditors contacting you for years following the decedent’s death looking to get paid.
  • Squandering estate/trust assets that were supposed to go to family and friends.
  • The disappointment that comes with knowing you didn’t live up to the decedent’s expectations.
  • The anger of relatives waiting to receive an inheritance.
  • Interest and penalties piling up on unpaid estate or inheritance taxes, which could expose you to personal liability and lawsuits.
  • Letting assets intended for future generations slip away.

Billing Statement


After you wrap up the
Estate / Trust….
Then What?

  • Have an annual memorial mass/ceremony.
  • Toast the memory of your loved one while exchanging happy memories.
  • Donate to a favorite charity in their honor.
  • Continue to enjoy the company of family and friends after a job well done.

Not One Day. Today.
Call Now 718.698.2200

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We Keep You On The Right Path

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