Lenza Law Firm, PLLC-Estate Planning, Elder Law and Medicaid Planning- Staten Island » Lenza Law Firm, PLLC is estate planning and elder law firm with a focus is Elder Law, Probate, Estate Administration, Estate Planning, and Medicaid Asset Protection in Staten Island, New York. Lenza Law Firm, PLLC Island,is dedicated solely to offering legal advice in estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, Nursing Home and estate administration matters

Contact me if you would like to join myself and the other members of the Knights of Columbus Saint Anthony of Padua Council at our Annual Golf Outing. Proceeds will benefit Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
The event will be held on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at Silver Lake Golf Course.

All of the pertinent information on attending is in the link below the photo.

I would love to see you there let me know if you would like to attend!


Golf Outing Package

“Many people know that they need life insurance to replace their income in the event of their passing. But besides life insurance, you also need to have a legal document known as a last will and testament. A will ensures that your property is transferred according to your wishes after your death. This is important because you don’t always designate a beneficiary for your property the way you do for life insurance benefits or retirement accounts.”


I found this article over at Nerdwallet.com and I think it breaks down in a very simplistic manner the pitfalls of dying without a will. Read it through!






I often come across articles that I think would be particularly of interest for my clients and blog readers. This article is part of a discussion that I have with a lot of my physician clients in the context of their estate planning goals. It was written by my former classmate at Saint John’s and friend Jennifer F. Hillman along with Leora A. Ardanizzone.

Preventive Medicine for the Health of Your Estate

By  Jennifer F. Hillman and Leora A. Ardanizzone

Physicians and other licensed health care providers labor many years to build their practices.  However, unlike many other businesses a health care practice cannot be passed by will or otherwise to the provider’s spouse or children, unless they too maintain the same license.  Even if an heir is also a licensed physician, the State may not approve the transfer of a medical practice to a licensed family member if they do not have adequate credentials to engage in the same specialty.  How then is a health care provider to protect their assets and secure a legacy for their heirs?

For licensed health care providers planning and protection of assets should begin from the time a practice is first established.  Nothing prevents a practitioner from establishing a practice as a sole proprietorship, but doing so makes all the practitioner’s assets (including assets unrelated to the practice, i.e. a primary residence, securities or other valuables) vulnerable to judgment creditors of the practice.  Creating a professional corporation, limited liability company or limited liability partnership can shield such personal assets from certain creditors of the practitioner’s health care business.  No corporate entity will shield the provider from liability arising under professional malpractice, personal guaranties, criminal activity, and/or certain tax related matters, but the corporate structure can certainly help in protecting the provider’s personal assets from certain creditors.

For those practitioners with partners, it is advisable to secure a succession plan among the partners.  Handshake deals and oral understandings will be difficult to prove in a later probate proceeding.  Succession plans can be structured to achieve the transfer of a deceased practitioner’s ownership interest, and can be funded in a variety of ways including insurance.  In this way, a provider’s estate can realize the rewards of years of service in building a practice, even if the provider’s heirs do not elect to follow in a parent’s footsteps.

The health care practice may not be the only entity that needs to be protected.  Considerations should also be made for any real estate holding companies or ancillary businesses which the provider may own, either singly or with partners.  Real estate holding companies are commonly formed by practitioners who want to own the space that houses their practices.  Owning real estate in the provider’s individual capacity can be a risky proposition not only because of the potential for liability that can affect the provider’s personal assets.  If a provider partners with someone in the ownership or tenancy of real estate, and does not adequately provide for certain eventualities, a deceased practitioner’s estate may have to continue paying the carrying charges for real estate (even though the deceased physician is no longer practicing there).

Business and succession planning should be a part of an overall estate plan that also considers utilizing a trust to further protect assets from personal creditors and tax-planning.  Health care providers should also be particularly cognizant of the need for a power of attorney and health care proxy which outline an individual’s wishes concerning financial and health care directives when an individual cannot speak for themselves.  Each of these documents is necessary to protect not only an individual’s assets, but also to ensure that their wishes are honored.

An attorney well versed in health care corporate matters and a competent estate planning attorney are your best bet in protecting your future and your legacy.

See more at: https://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/estate-elder/b/estate-elder-blog/archive/2013/04/08/preventive-medicine-for-the-health-of-your-estate.aspx?Redirected=true#sthash.0x9AgjbY.dpuf

I came across this fantastic article written by Mark Gollum for CBC.ca and I wanted to share it with you all.

While the astronomical numbers in play may be different that what I usually deal with on a day to day basis the cautionary tale remains the same.

With a will yet to surface, Prince’s family faces a potentially long, costly and complex legal process to divvy up his assets, illustrating the importance of writing a will, even for those not leaving behind a multi-million dollar estate.

His siblings have already begun the court proceedings. A Minnesota judge appointed a corporate trust company to temporarily oversee his estate last week, saying the emergency appointment was necessary because the superstar musician doesn’t appear to have a will and immediate decisions must be made about his business interests.

But problems may already be emerging among his heirs, which would further complicate the process. CNN reported that the initial meeting between the siblings was contentious and ended in shouting.

“Especially for a man surrounded by so many lawyers and managers, etc., it’s astonishing that he didn’t have a will,” said Judith T Younger, a professor of family law at the University of Minnesota who teaches a course in property, wills and trusts.

Prince Estate

Tyka Nelson, centre, the sister of Prince, leaves court after a judge confirmed the appointment of a special administrator to oversee the settlement of Prince’s estate. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)

With no spouse or children, Minnesota law states that his estate will be distributed equally among his siblings and half-siblings. But that could become complicated if they fail to agree on how certain assets should be treated and/or sold. For example, the siblings will have to come up with a valuation of Prince’s vault of unpublished music and agree on what should be done with it.

“There is still the problem — are any of these siblings experts in managing assets of this sort that he has.” said Younger.

Another issue, says Younger, is that Minnesota doesn’t have statutes that would deal directly with the inheritability of Prince’s persona — the right to commercially exploit his image through items like T-shirts and mugs.

‘Always been very careful about his properties’

“The question becomes do they get included in his estate? Had he had a will, he could have set up an arrangement with people who knew what they were doing to manage it or license it. Or perhaps he would not have wanted any postmortem publicity.”

Prince Estate

Alfred Jackson, the half-brother of Prince, appeared at probate court. (Jim Mone/Associated Press)

“He has always been very careful about his properties, his music his unpublished intellectual property,” she said. “The best way to ensure that people you trust are managing and controlling it after your death is to have a will designation.”

It’s possible that Prince cared little how his estate was to be settled after his death. But as Charles Wagner, Toronto estate lawyer, pointed out, was “there no one who he’s loved in his life? Is there no one who had a special place? Is there anything he wanted to perpetuate his legacy?”

Even for those without an estate like Prince’s, getting a will is a prudent move, said Wagner.

Risk litigation

“If you want to ensure that your assets go to the people you want them to, your best bet is to go to a lawyer who knows what they’re doing …and get a good will,” Wagner said. “Otherwise you risk litigation, otherwise you risk the money going to people you don’t want.”

Joseph Gyverson, a Toronto estate lawyer, said it’s a fairly common misconception that if someone dies without leaving  a will, their estate goes to the government. That can happen if the deceased has no living heirs — otherwise legislation sets out a hierarchy as to who is entitled to inherit the estate. The general rule in North America, he said, is that the spouse will inherit everything followed by children, parents, siblings, aunts and uncles and then other next of kin.

Prince Estate

Prince’s half-sister Norrine Nelson also appeared at the probate hearing of her brother’s estate. (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune/Associated Press)

Without a will, family members of the deceased will most certainly end up in court, Gyverson said.  And if there is any disagreement between potential beneficiaries about who should get what, the estate could be tied up in court for a long time, costing a large amount in legal fees that could eat up much of what they were entitled to receive in the first place.

Choosing the executor

There’s also the issue of choosing the state trustee, or executor of the estate, when there is no will to say who will fill that powerful role. The trustee or executor can deal with the assets according to their discretion. Without a will, a number of people could go to court to apply for that position.

“And that’s where you could get an issue with something like the Prince estate where you’ve got multiple beneficiaries, all of whom have the right to a say as to who is going to be chosen to be the executor.

Prince Estate

Prince’s half-brother Omarr Baker leaves court following appointment of Bremer Trust, National Association as special administrator to manage the musician’s assets. (Leila Navidi/Star Tribune/The Associated Press)

“And if there are conflicting interests, they may not agree who will be the executor. Then there can be a battle over who is going to be the executor, who is going to be in control of the state. And the more complex the estate is, the more valuable the assets are in the estate, the more there is that potential to be that conflict.”

People don’t need to get a will for themselves, Gyverson said, but so the people they care about are taken care of and they’re making things easier for their friends and family when they die.

“Because when someone is in the process of grieving over lost loved ones, they don’t want to have the additional hassle of not even having a will to help them deal with the property,” he said.

SeniorAdultChildA sad reality of my practice is that I often am faced with the realities of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t something that you just wake up with one day, as it is a gradual breakdown of the mind and often also begins to manifest itself in physical symptoms.


Many people ask me about whether I believe their mom/dad/grandparent/aunt or uncle is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, Dementia, or just age related memory loss.  I remind them that only a qualified physician can help to answer those questions, and making a determination about a specific condition is beyond my skill set.


This wonderful short 3 minute video linked below discusses exactly what Alzheimer’s Disease is, how it manifests itself, and how we can help those suffering from this terrible disease.

Alzheimer’s Explained