November 2021 NEWSLETTER

Nov 21, 2021 | Newsletter  

Its Time To Plan

“Indecision and delays are the parents of failure” – George Canning

An “estate plan” is a plan for an event that will happen in the indefinite future. When, how, and where are all unknown. The plan we formulate sets up our intention for these unknowns by using what we do know. We plan for money management and distribution of assets, we plan for the care of dependents (financial,emotional,custodial,physical) and we plan for financial protection. If we don’t then we (or the loved ones left behind rather) are at the mercy of a plan the State has already implemented by way of Statutes dictating a general ‘default’ plan governed and administrated by the Court system.

We have seen clients come to a meeting to discuss a family member’s death holding their heads in their hands not because of grief alone but because of the compounding effect that lack of planning imposes, including significant delays, expenses, and frustrations that could have otherwise been easily avoided had a plan been implemented.

It is irrelevant how much wealth you have or if you are married, single, or if you do or do not have children and/or grandchildren. The relevance applies to the level of intricacy your plan may require. The only assurance is that the failure to, at least, understand what you may need will absolutely result in unintended consequences including, guardianship issues for the elderly, guardianship issues for minors, taxation, access to assets, and the administration of your affairs.

We offer complimentary initial consultations in person or by ZOOM. We also offer annual review meetings for our existing clients at no fee. Please contact us to ensure your planning.

Critical Medical Considerations

A Medical Order for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) is one way of documenting a patient’s treatment preferences concerning life-sustaining treatment. The form is beneficial to both patients and providers because it is recognized in a variety of health care settings, and it provides particular medical orders. Moreover, a MOLST is a good addition to supplement the “Health Care Decisions Declaration”,especially for individuals with particular medical treatment preferences.

A Health Care Decisions Declaration encompasses a Living Will, a Health Care Proxy, an Organ and Tissue Donation Affidavit, and a HIPPA Waiver. A Living Will specifies an individual’s wish to be removed from life support if two physicians certify that they are in an irreversible, vegetative state with no chance of cognitive recovery. This includes the termination or continuation of mechanical resuscitation, artificial nutrition/feeding tube, and mechanical respiration. A Health Care Proxy appoints someone to make all other health care choices in the event that you become incapacitated and can no longer make decisions yourself or otherwise be directly involved in your care.

The MOLST form complements the use of the Health Care Decisions Declaration and facilitates the communication of medical orders impacting end-of-life care decisions. Unlike Health Care Proxies and Living Wills, MOLST forms contain specific and actionable medical orders that transition with the patient and can be followed by EMS providers in an emergency. Executing a MOLST form lets physicians and other health care providers honor a patient’s specific preferences in end-of-life care. Additionally, under State law, the MOLST form is the only New York State form authorized for documenting both nonhospital Do Not Resuscitate and Do Not Intubate orders. The MOLST applies once a patient consents to the orders within it, and a physician or nurse practitioner signs the document. In contrast to the Health Care Proxy, the MOLST is not conditional on a determination of incapacity of the patient.

MOLST forms can be downloaded from the NYSDOH website at The form should be printed on bright “pulsar” pink, heavy cardstock paper. The MOLST form must be completed based on the patient’s current medical condition, values and wishes and a physician must sign the form. Please ensure your emergency medical and health care wishes are current and documented. Schanker and Schanker, PLLC. is available and ready to assist you with your critical medical considerations in the preparation of your Health Care documents including assisting in incorporating the MOLST form

Everyday New York State returns $1.5million to those who file claims for unclaimed funds…Is any of it yours?

Banks, insurance companies, corporations, courts, and many other organizations are by law, required to report to the State Comptroller information on any dormant accounts. When such dormant accounts are found, these organizations must attempt to notify the owner of the account by mail and publish the information in newspapers. However, despite these efforts, many funds remain unclaimed and are therefore turned over to the Office of the State Comptroller. Examples of the types of unclaimed funds accounts include bank accounts, court funds, dividends, estate proceeds, insurance benefits, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and security deposits.

You can search for lost money on the Office of the New York State Comptroller’s website ( To search for an individual all that is required is their first and last name, to search for an organization, you must provide the name of the organization. You can also file a claim for unclaimed funds by mail or on the website for a business and organization, a deceased owner and estate, an individual, multiple owners, or on behalf of another person. Regarding claims for deceased owners and estates, the claim must be submitted by an authorized representative of the estate.

To avoid unclaimed money scams, be wary of individuals pretending to be the government and offer to send you unclaimed money in exchange for personal information or for a fee. If you receive a letter from the State Comptroller, you can search the OUF Code found in the letter to verify its authenticity.

If you need assistance, please reach out to any of the attorneys at Schanker and Schanker,
P.C. at (631) 424-5400.

VictorianOur main office is housed in an elegantly restored Victorian structure in the heart of Huntington Village. Here, we welcome you and your family into a relaxing, warm setting where we will work together to improve your circumstances and achieve your goals. To better serve our clients and their families, we also have convenient office locations in Midtown Manhattan and New Jersey; we also offer our services to clientele in Florida.

Extensive Services Include

Complimentary Initial Consultations for Estate Planning, Probate and Estate Administration matters (not for matters of Elder Law or Special Needs Planning) Complimentary Annual Review meetings for existing clients Complimentary Family meetings for existing clients Tax alert services for existing clients

Meet & Review

Schedule a complimentary appointment to review existing Estate Planning documents in our Long Island Office, our Manhattan Office, or our New Jersey office. Contact us at our main telephone number at phone (631) 424-5400.

Tax Alert Immediate Action
  • As part of our continuing service to our clients, we are committed to inform you of changes in the tax laws that may have an impact on your estate plan.
  • The Democrats in Congress are currently working on the final stages of a new tax act, versions of which make some significant estate and gift tax changes.
  • One version proposes to roll back the $11,700,000 estate and gift tax exemption that is currently available to $6,000,000 per person.
    Another proposal would eliminate valuation discounts for gifts of nonbusiness assets and curtail the use of grantor trusts that are frequently utilized in estate planning.
  • We do not know what the final provisions of the tax act will be. There may be some limited opportunities to plan in light of these impending changes in the tax law. Please contact us with any questions.

Andrea B. Schanker, Esq


Andrea B. Schanker, Esq – Partner, received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from University of Rochester in 1999 and her Juris Doctor from New York Law School in 2002. Andrea is a licensed member of the New York and New Jersey Bar Associations. She is the 2016 – 2017 President of the Huntington Lawyers Club, a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association and a member of the New York State Bar Association where she is an active member within the Trusts and Estates Section and the Elder Law and Special Needs Section. Ms. Schanker is also a member of the Suffolk County Bar Association and the American Bar Association.

Ms. Schanker joined Schanker and Schanker PLLC in 2004 as an Associate Attorney specializing in Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Business Succession Planning, and Elder Law. She regularly delivers Estate Planning presentations to professionals in the financial industry and their clients. Ms. Schanker also regularly advises accountants, financial advisors, and insurance advisors in connection with her areas of expertise.

Andrea lives in Huntington with her husband, Michael Abruzzo and their daughters, Patricia Gertrude Abruzzo and Sylvia Grace Abruzzo.

GENERAL DISCLAIMER:  While we hope this newsletter provides useful information, please know that this newsletter does not predict or guarantee the outcome or result in any particular situation and no attorney-client relationship exists or is established as a result of this newsletter or its receipt