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This video features Vincent Casiano, an Estate Planning attorney based in California.
I grew up on Long Island, East Meadow, a little town, South Shore of Long Island, a great place to grow up. I did very well in high school, both scholastically as an athlete, and I got recruited by the wrestling coach at Fort Schuyler, the State University of New York Maritime Academy, and it was a great, great, great school. The merchant marine, A lot of people think it's part of the military, it's not... It's a civilian organization, however, it does have that military structure to it. I knew how to navigate a ship when I graduated, you have to take this lengthy examination when you graduate five day tests, some of the portions of that test, you have to get 90% on. It is a multiple choice test, but the examiners actually look at the chart that where you were drawing the lines to make sure that you got the right answer the right way, not that you just guessed "C" because you didn't know what it was. Right, so that's part of it. So I felt confident being out to sea as part of your training and going out that I could do the job, which I gotta tell you is something different than law school, because when you get out of law school, you really don't know what you're doing. Your education starts after you get out of law school.
But when, after you graduate from the Maritime Academy, you have your third mate license, you get on a ship, and then that ship carries a certain type of cargo, Maybe it's container ship, maybe it's a bulk carrier. I ended up getting on tankers, once you get on a particular type of ship, you tend to stay on that because you have to learn about the cargo operations. So that's what I did. I started working on these tankers and it was... It's a fascinating job. I got to go all over. Mainly the northern hemisphere, incredible experience. But as I got into my mid-30s and stuff, I realized I wanted to do something else. My youngest sister was an attorney, and she said, Vinny, why don't you take the LSAT? Why don't you see how you do?
So while I was home from sea, I studied very hard, and I ended up doing very, very well, I think I was in the 96th percentile, which then allowed me to choose the school that I wanted to go to. Then I went to Hastings. Then what I actually did is I knew was gonna go out on my own. While I was studying for the Bar, I got a job with an attorney, a maritime attorney, and I didn't know what I was doing, but he was paying me because of the experience I had in the maritime industry. Right? And they'd bring me into depositions and they'd say, "Is this what... " If it was a workers' comp case for sailors, they'd ask me questions, "Is this the way it's supposed to work?" And I'd go, "Yeah." So they were basically getting an expert witness on the cheap. I decided I was gonna go out of my own. I was gonna throw out my shingle. Thought I'd do some maritime law, but I also thought I'd do wills and trusts. Because after all, I got an A in wills and trust, and that means I should be able to do this, right? Wrong, that wasn't the case, [chuckle] but that was yet to be seen.
So I actually went back to the union school, got my credentials back, and I jumped on a ship. I got on a ship for three months, because that way I was able... I mean, you make very good money as a second mate, it's very good money, plus you get benefits. If you stay on for 90 days, you get six months of benefits. And that's what I wanted for my family. So, I came back and I started doing wills and trusts. I purchased... I'm looking at the books right now on my shelf, same... These books from LexisNexis, a set of 12 books and all of the software to be able to draft this stuff. And I realized, "God, I don't understand half of this stuff." So I went to my first elder law... National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys conference. I met a bunch of elder law attorneys that were absolutely passionate about helping seniors. These people were so passionate, so wanting to help people, that I was like, "Oh my God, I found a home. This is incredible." For me, if you're an elder lawyer, you really understand about a lot of different things, right? Medicaid or MediCal planning is a huge one, right, financial elder abuse is another area. I know in my lifetime, I have literally saved families millions of dollars, and that's a big part of elder law and elder law planning, elder care, and not just the estate planning, but the long-term planning that you wanna do is really essential.
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