Endorsed MemberMarianne S. Rantala, P.C.
Industry Focus: Estate Planning, Asset Enhancement, Kids Protection Planning, Special Needs Planning, Caring for Elders
Licensed In: Florida, USA, New York, USA, Washington, DC, USAContact Now
Located in the heart of Long Island, New York, the law firm of Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., focuses its practice on estate planning, probate and estate administration to best keep your family out of court and out of conflict. As an attorney with many years of experience, Marianne Rantala has successfully represented clients in a broad scope of estate related matters. She stands ready to guide you through both the pre-planning of estate matters and the post-death proceedings that happen when your loved one passes. She truly understands what you and your family are going through.
Marianne S. Rantala, Esq., is admitted as an attorney in New York, Florida and the District of Columbia, as well as all United States District courts in Florida and the Eastern and Southern United States District Courts in New York, the 11th and 2nd Circuit United States Courts of Appeal and the United States Supreme Court. She is a former Certified Public Accountant in the State of Florida and is a member of numerous professional legal organizations, including the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Suffolk County Women’s Bar Association.
Her experience prior to starting her own law firm includes working as an independent contract attorney for the following law firms: Black, Srebnick & Kornspan, P.A. (f/k/a Roy Black, P.A.) (Miami, FL); Scott A. Srebnick, Attorney at Law, Miami, FL. She was a Certified Legal Intern at the Palm Beach County State Attorney, West Palm Beach, FL, while attending law school. She graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, Coral Gables, FL, with her Juris Doctor, Cum Laude in December of 1994. She was a member of the University of Miami Entertainment and Sports Law Review and Phi Delta Phi.
“We create peace of mind for people like you and us, to avoid a catastrophe when tragedy happens.”
Marianne S. Rantala, Esq., began her career as an independent contract attorney at a high-profile criminal defense firm in downtown Miami. Pretty much as soon as she got there, she was unhappy because there was a huge gap between what she had dreamed about when she went to law school and the reality of being a lawyer. She had dreamed about going to law school and coming out and making a difference in people’s lives. But in reality, practice in a high-profile law firm was totally transactional, research-based and she very rarely met with the clients directly. She therefore started her own law firm practicing criminal defense, family law and wills, trusts and other estate planning. First of all, most of the work she did was billed on an hourly basis. And, as you can imagine at more than $300/hour, her clients wanted her to do everything as quickly as possible with as little communication as possible. They didn’t want to talk about their respective kids and they were afraid to call because they didn’t know how much that call would cost them on their monthly invoice and whether it was worth it. This was obviously not a good way to have a lifetime relationship with someone. And, then when they did call, she was unable to be really responsive because she didn’t have a whole team of people supporting her -- only her and the paralegal she had hired. As the paralegal was only part-time, Marianne was quite often the paralegal, the legal secretary and the file clerk too, which was great from a learning perspective, but not great from the perspective of lifetime relationships with her clients. And finally, what she noticed in her estate planning practice, is that clients would come in, she’d prepare some estate planning documents for them, they’d sign the documents (most often not having a clear sense of what they were signing) and then take the documents, stick them in a drawer and not look at them again. That’s just what the typical estate planning experience had become at the time and continues to be in the typical estate planning law firm even today. Although there was nothing abnormal about it, but it just didn’t feel right to Marianne. At the time, she didn’t have a system for following up with clients, making sure their assets were titled properly, or communicating over time. Estate planning is something that affects every area of your life – you, your assets, your family. All of those things will change many times before your death. Not to mention, everyone knows the law will change over and over again. Your estate plan absolutely must keep up with those changes!
If that wasn’t bad enough, she was faced with the death of her then fiancée a few years ago, after moving her law practice to Long Island. As some people do, her fiancée felt he was immortal and didn’t need any estate plan. Unfortunately, the State of New York has a plan for people who don’t establish their own estate plan. The State of New York plan was definitely not what he had wanted for his loved ones. Since they weren’t yet married, his sisters (whom Marianne had never met because he didn’t get along with them) came out of the proverbial woodwork and demanded she turn over all of his records, bank accounts, investment documents . . . even his beloved windsurfing and other sports equipment! She was still in shock and absolutely devastated from the loss of her fiancée! She, the attorney, had to get her own attorney to deal with that mess because she was barely capable of going through her day to day tasks.
So, Marianne thought long and hard about the best way that she could change things at her firm after practicing the old way for so long (20 years!) and she had even toyed with the idea of leaving the practice of law and doing something completely different to make a living – that’s how unhappy she was about her fiancée’s passing and the way her estate planning practice operated at the time – but, instead she decided that she would reformulate her law firm. She realized that she needed to do her very best to make sure no one around her would have to suffer in that horrible way after a loved one passes. She immediately incorporated much more estate planning work into her practice, adding some very important changes. She re-established her firm with the idea of bringing back the Personal Family Lawyer relationship - where planning is just the beginning of the relationship.
Some of the things Marianne does very differently based on her experience with the traditional model of estate planning, are as follows. First of all – nothing the firm does is billed on an hourly basis. Everything is billed flat fee, agreed to in advance, so there are no surprises. Our clients really like it and we do too. It doesn’t feel good to keep track of time in 6 minute increments. Second – the firm is building a whole team of people to support our clients. If you are at the bank and call our office to get a quick answer about how to title an account, you don’t have to leave the bank and return on another day because there was no one available to answer your question for hours or days. You’ll get your questions answered quickly. Third – we see planning as just the beginning of the relationship whereas in the past the plan was viewed as a one-time transactional event. Once you sign your planning documents, that is when the relationship really begins. At no additional charge, we review your plan at least every three years. And, we have two levels of membership programs that almost all of our clients participate in – either the gold program which provides you with a yearly plan review and unlimited changes to your plan or the gold plus program that includes an annual meeting with your attorney, CPA and financial advisor, plus ongoing legal guidance throughout the year. These are just a few of the things that make our firm different. Our firm is the best fit for people who want the freedom that comes with the peace of mind knowing their family will be taken care of when something happens to them – that we will be here for their family throughout their lifetime and then afterwards. On a personal note, Marianne is a mom of two beautiful adult daughters – and, what her children bring to this experience for her is the awareness that planning is something that you do for the people you love the most.
Unfortunately, you won’t be the one to benefit from the plan we are going to design for you today – the people who will benefit are the people you love the most who will be dealing with things after you’re gone.