Personal Family Lawyer

How We Are Different

Explaining to you how we're different requires an explanation of what the "traditional" experience with a lawyer is like. If you've worked with a lawyer to prepare estate planning documents for you in the past, this will sound familiar.

During the traditional experience, you'll go in and meet with a lawyer who will oftentimes make things seem very complicated and confusing. You'll have a good idea that the lawyer is smart and seems to know what they are doing, so you'll nod and answer questions, as if you understand everything. Because you want to do the right thing for your family, you'll have the lawyer prepare documents for you and you'll sign the documents, feeling relieved that you've got that taken care of.

You'll take your fancy planning binder home, stick it on a shelf or in a drawer, mark estate planning off on your checklist as DONE, and never think about it again.

You might remember your lawyer said something about moving your bank accounts into the trust. So you'll go to the bank, forget what you were supposed to do, call your lawyer's office, get a voicemail, have to leave the bank and wait for a call back, (which takes several hours at least and sometimes days) and by that time, you'll have gotten busy with other things and never get around to moving that bank account.

A few weeks later, you'll get a bill in the mail for $67.50 for 15 minutes of your lawyer's time for answering a couple of questions. You'll make a mental note—don't call lawyer ever again.

Several years later, you'll refinance your house or sell it and buy a new one and forget that you were supposed to let your lawyer know, or make sure you kept the title in the name of the trust.

Your children will get older, making your guardianship choices outdated, but you don't want to call your lawyer because you know you'll get a bill in the mail two weeks later.

You'll hear something about a change in the tax law, but you figure you'd surely get a letter in the mail from your lawyer if it's something that affected you, so you don't worry about it. Plus, you'd have to dig through boxes to find your trust documents so you could remember your lawyer's name and find her contact information. Who has time for that?

It's not until you become incapacitated or die and your family finds the binder you stuck up on a shelf several years before and never looked at again, that they'll realize your plan is so outdated that it has nothing to do with your life, your assets, and the law.

Your family is at a loss. They don't know where to turn or what to do, so they contact the same lawyer you used to prepare the documents—who is as happy as can be to probate your assets—that never made it into the trust.

How do I know all this?

Because not too long ago, it happened to the family of a close friend and I swore it would never happen to my clients when I established the estate planning area of my own firm. Since then, I have seen countless clients come in to see me who have had this exact experience.

Unfortunately, what I discovered is the estate planning industry was not designed to serve growing families who experience lots of change on their way to success. It was designed to serve 70 and 80-year-olds who were preparing for death.

Our Firm Helps You Prepare for Life

What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity, and that you value ease, convenience, and efficiency. You want to know that you've made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your children will be taken care of in the best way possible and will be prepared to receive your wealth if anything happens to you.

That is our focus as well. We've developed unique systems to give you the same access to a personal family lawyer as was previously only available to the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Sam Walton, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth.

We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, we've thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis and agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises.

We have a whole team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you won't have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. You'll get your question answered, right away. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your personal lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you're both available and ready so we can make the very best use of your time and not waste it by leaving voicemail after voicemail back and forth.

We ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on, and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime.

We provide "funding coordination" to ensure your assets are protected throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process, or become lost to the state because they were missed after your death.

We've created unique membership programs to keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as give you access to our Trusted Team of Legal Specialists for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I don't know why and I don't know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and we'll be here to advise you or get you out of a jam.

Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall "Family Wealth" which is made up of your far more valuable, Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets—who you are and what's important to you.

Most estate plans are only able to transfer your financial wealth onto the next generation. The intangible nature of your much greater wealth has made it difficult to capture and it is most often lost when someone passes. How much do you know about your grandparents' values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime?

If you are like most people, you know very little. However, the wealthiest families capture these assets and pass them along right with their financial wealth. That's part of the reason the rich keep getting richer.

We've developed a tool that allows us to pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual, and Human assets. I can't go into all of the details here, but we'll definitely talk about it when you come in to meet with your Personal Family Lawyer.

We look forward to seeing you and caring for your family soon!

Marianne S. Rantala

PS—If you think this all sounds expensive, well, you're right and you're wrong. I can guarantee you that if you qualify to meet with a Personal Family Lawyer®, that planning is substantially less costly than it would be for your family if you died with a plan that didn't work, or if you didn't have a plan in place at all. I've never had a single family who believed in this kind of planning and wanted to put it in place for their loved ones leave my office because they couldn't afford it. We've made creative financing available to our clients because we know that this planning is the foundation for a life of success!

Three Levels of Planning

Estate planning at Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., is not one size fits. We offer 3 levels of planning to suit your varying needs.

Our Services

Our firm believes in personalized service for each and every client. Our approach is educational and proactive—we first determine each client's individual needs, desires, and values, and then tailor their plan to best fulfill their dreams.

We represent families throughout varying stages of life:

  • Traditional two parent families or single parents wishing to provide for and protect their children and themselves
  • Unmarried couples who are either solidifying their relationship through proper planning or dissolving their relationship with the assistance of caring counsel
  • Blended families negotiating the challenges of creating new relationships with varying expectations
  • High net worth families seeking strategies for minimizing estate and income taxes
  • Estate executors and beneficiaries navigating the court process of probate administration
  • Family members or trustees carrying out the legacy left behind through a trust administration

With each of our estate plans we include a no charge three-year review to ensure that as our clients' lives change, so does their estate plan; we also make sure that their assets are held properly for maximum protection. And, we have annual membership programs for clients that desire even more service. Whether you participate in one of our membership programs or not, we keep all of our clients updated about changes in the law and issues that might affect their lives.

In addition, we advise clients regarding relationship nuptial agreements, perform reviews of existing plans that may be out of date, and handle all aspects of administration after the death of a loved one.

Our clients benefit from the attention we offer the whole family—from free estate checkups to basic planning documents for young adult children—so they can feel how much we care.

Planning for Life

Our Family Wealth VIP Membership programs are part of what set us apart and allow us to care for you and your family throughout all life's stages.

At most estate planning law firms the relationship ends when you sign your documents. At Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., we see the signing of your estate planning documents as the beginning of our relationship with your family.

Over time, your assets will change; your family may change, and we know for sure that the law will change. Your plan must accommodate all of these changes in order to make sure your plan works when your family needs it the most. If your plan is not properly updated over time your documents become worthless—worth no more than the paper they were printed on. The costs of failing to update are typically far greater than keeping your plan current.

To help you make sure your plan is always current, sign up for Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., Family Wealth Membership Programs.

With each of our estate plans we include a no-charge three-year review to ensure that as our clients' lives change, so does their estate plan; we also make sure that their assets are held properly for maximum protection. We also include in our planning process a creative way for our clients to pass on more than just their financial assets, but also their human assets—who they are and what is important to them. And, we have annual membership programs for clients that desire even more service. Whether you participate in one of our annual membership programs or not, we keep all our clients updated about changes in the law and issues that might affect their lives.

Some of the Benefits Provided Under Our Membership Plans include:

  • Annual Plan Review with Unlimited Plan Amendments.
  • Annual Priceless Conversation to transition your most important and most frequently lost family wealth—who you are and what's most important to you.
  • Annual Membership service which provides 24–7 on-line access to health care and guardianship documents.
  • Substantial discount on our fees for advising your loved ones after you're gone.
  • Annual Review of Your Assets and Update of Your Asset Spreadsheet.
  • And much more, including valuable membership enrollment bonuses.

For more information about our unique programs, please contact us.

Leaving a Real Legacy - Who You Are & What's Important to You
How We Guide You to Leave a Legacy That's About Much More Than Just Your Money

After you are gone, your loved ones will miss you deeply. They will long for your words of counsel and concern. Hearing your voice again would be a tremendous gift.

Through our unique legacy process, you can give your loved ones the most precious gift—a lasting expression of your love. What could be more valuable?

At Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., we believe estate planning is not just about transferring your financial assets and personal belongings. It's also about capturing and transferring your valuable intangible gifts: who you are and what's important to you—your values, insights, stories, and experience.

Several years ago, my then fiancée died. He had left me a voicemail message on my cell phone and for years after he died, I would listen to it when I missed him. Until the very bad day when it was accidentally deleted.

How I wish I still had that voicemail message. Or even better, that I had a recording of my fiancée telling me what he loved about me, what his hopes for me were, what life lessons were most important to him, what values he most wanted for me, or even just saying the various nicknames that he had always called me.

When I was first in practice, I would tell my clients to record a message for their loved ones and put it in a safe place or simply write notes to their children letting them know how they felt about them. But so few people ever actually did it. We just get so caught up with the day to day of our lives that focusing in on leaving a legacy seems to take a back seat.

So we realized we'd have to build this into our planning process and not make it just another thing you'll get done someday. That's why at Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., we make it part of our planning for every client to help you capture and pass on more than just your money: your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets, who you are, and what's important to you.

For more information about how we help you pass on your most valuable assets—your values, insights, stories and experience—to your loved ones, or about our resources for leaving your family with a true legacy, please contact us.

What Would It Be Worth?

Can you picture someone who's passed away, someone you love and miss deeply? Can you recall a conversation you had with them? Can you remember the sound of their voice and what they told you? What if you could hear their voice again?

What if they could speak to you—heart to heart—and share their wisdom and advice? What would it be worth to you to hear their words one more time?

What is it worth to you to know that they'll always know exactly how much you love them? It's worth a lot to us and we are honored to be able to provide you and your family with this gift.

Planning for the Lifetime Care of Your Children
Having A Will Simply Does Not Ensure the Care of Your Kids If the Unthinkable Happens!

If you are a parent of children who are counting on you, your estate plan must begin with ensuring your children will always be taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens.

At Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., one of our areas of greatest expertise is in planning for the well-being and care of the children you love.

Without advance legal planning for the care of your children, if the unthinkable happens to you, here's what could happen:

  • Your children could be placed into the care of Child Protective Services (yes, even if you have a will in place and even if you have a living trust) and, yes, it would very likely only be temporary, but trust me, you never want your children in the arms of strangers. Not even for a minute.
  • Your children could be put into the custody and care of someone you would never want, like that one family member who has good intentions, but you'd never want raising your kids.
  • A judge who doesn't know you, or your family, will decide who will raise your kids, even if it's the last person you would ever want.
  • Your family could get into a long, drawn-out custody fight or there could be a challenge to the guardians you have designated.
  • Up to 5% of the value of your assets could be lost to court costs and other unnecessary fees through the probate process, a court process that can tie up your assets for years and deprive your kids of the resources they need to live comfortably, which can be avoided with advance legal planning.
  • When your kids turn 18, they get a check for whatever assets are left.
  • There are unscrupulous people out there who make it their business to look at the public records to find out when 18 year olds are getting that inheritance check.
  • The vast majority of estate planning attorneys do not address these issues, and do not plan from a parents perspective.

Yes, these things scare us too. That's why we offer a Kids Protection Plan with every estate plan we do for families with young children.

What is a Kids Protection Plan®?

A Kids Protection Plan® is a set of instructions, legal documents, and even an ID card for your wallet, which you need to have if you have kids at home who count on you for their well-being and care.

If you are in an accident, your Kids Protection Plan® will make sure your children are never taken into the custody of Child Protective Services or the care of anyone you wouldn't want because the police will instead have clear instructions from you. Your Kids Protection Plan® will ensure your children are raised by people you choose, not someone chosen by a Judge who doesn't know you.

To get started with your Kids Protection Plan®, contact us.

Click Here to begin your Kids Protection Plan.

Getting Started: Why Work with Marianne S. Rantala P.C. Criminal Law & Estate Planning
Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer Understand the Difference

Many estate planning attorneys take a "one-size fits all" approach with their clients; they do this so that they can work with as many people as possible in a short period of time. The problem is that the client has an impersonal experience; but worse than that, this way of planning can lead to unintended results in the long run for the family.

When lawyers do not take the time to listen and consider a family's personal circumstances, the result is that your Will & Trust Documents do not end up reflecting what your family really wants to happen. And usually there is no review or updating, so the plan quickly becomes outdated and does not work when your family needs it most.

So even though you may pay less up front to get a standard set of documents (or even documents that are customized for your family), things end up much more expensive in the long run. Plus, you leave your family at risk of having to deal with an expensive, unnecessary court process during a time of tremendous grief.

Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., is right for you if you want to know that your plan will actually work when you and your loved ones need it the most. If all you want is a set of legal documents, there are plenty of online resources you can use to create them. Or you can go to a traditional estate planning lawyer.

If what you want is to know you've got a plan in place that will make things easy for your loved ones no matter what happens when, we're the right fit for you.

Here are some of the ways we are different from most estate planning lawyers:

  1. All of our fees are fixed fees that are agreed to in advance, so there are no surprises. At our initial meeting you will choose the level of planning and fee that works best for your family, so there will never be any surprises.
  2. We keep you informed and make sure your plan works. We don't just prepare a set of legal documents for you and send you on your way. We make sure your assets are owned in the right way, we make sure your kids' well-being is properly planned for, and we ensure everyone you've named in your plan knows what to do if anything happens to you.
  3. We review your plan at least every three years, and annually through our Family Wealth VIP Membership program. We foster a lifetime, ongoing relationship with our clients. Throughout your life, things change. You change, your assets change, your family changes, the law will definitely change.
  4. We have a whole support system in place to answer your quick questions and to make the planning process incredibly easy and painless for you and your family. We have a process for helping you make sure that your assets are titled in the right way, both now and over your lifetime.
  5. We help you get your legal and financial house in order by helping you make smart choices about things like buying insurance, saving for college, and retirement planning so you never spend more than you have to or get taken advantage of by unscrupulous sales people.
  6. Legacy Planning. We believe that planning is about much more than just the transfer of your financial wealth. With all of our plans, we include a process to help you transfer your most important personal wealth to your loved ones, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets—who you are and what's important to you.

Before you engage an estate planning lawyer to help you plan for the well-being of your money, your family and your life, there are questions you need to ask. You need to ensure that the estate plan you put in place will really work when your family needs it and won't end up just a pile of worthless paper after you are gone.

Don't let a set of legal documents become false security that keeps you from doing what's best for your loved ones.

How to Get Started

By now you've seen that Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., is something special; because you love your family, you know your family deserves the kind of protection, guidance, and love we provide for a lifetime. It's important that you know how we work because we do things a bit differently at Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., than at other law firms. That's why our clients love us so much.

We begin with a Family Wealth Planning Session, during which we guide you to get your assets and resources organized so you can finally relax around what you have and what you need.

Then, we look at how to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones after you are gone. Because no one wants to leave a mess for the ones they love.

During your Family Wealth Planning Session, we will identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love and financial security for your family.

Schedule Your Personal Family Wealth Planning Session

Call our office at (631) 627-3433 to schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session and ask to speak with our Client Services Director. She will schedule the most convenient appointment time available for you with our intricately trained Personal Family Lawyer. We see clients on Monday through Friday, and we even have limited evening or weekend appointments available, to make planning as convenient for you as possible.

When you schedule your personal Family Wealth Planning Session, we block 2 hours on our calendar so we can focus entirely on you and your family during this time. We will send you a package of information to complete before our time together, which will help you begin the process of getting your legal and financial life in order. During our meeting together, we will guide you to gently look at what would happen for your loved ones and to your assets if something were to happen to you. And then, we'll look at what you want to happen and help you create a roadmap to get that plan in place as easily as possible. Clients routinely say, "wow, if we had known how easy this would be, we would have done it years ago!" after meeting with us.

Our Family Wealth Planning Session is $750 and if we create a comprehensive plan for you, that planning fee is applied to your legal fees for your lifetime estate plan. In some circumstances, we will waive the planning session fee and instead you can secure your appointment time with a credit card number.

In such cases, so long as you keep your appointment, nothing will be charged on your card unless you decide to proceed with a comprehensive estate plan after the Family Wealth Planning Session. In such a situation, if you must cancel within 1 week of your appointment, your credit card will still not be charged unless you fail to reschedule your appointment within 30 days of your cancellation. If you cannot keep your appointment and you choose not to reschedule, your credit card would be charged the $750 planning fee.

We understand that this policy of securing your appointment with a credit card may seem unique. So is our law firm. We provide our very best service to those families who want to ensure they have trusted counsel to be there for their family when they cannot be.

We focus most of our energy providing service to our existing clients and limit the number of new clients we see each week. We only take referrals from trusted Professional Planning Partners and existing clients. As a result, we must secure your appointment time so that if something comes up and you can't attend your appointment, we will have enough advance notice so we may open the slot to a waiting family.

What to Do Prior to Your Personal Family Wealth Planning Session

About 3 days after scheduling your appointment, you will receive a Mailer with your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment and other important information that you will want to review prior to your personal Family Wealth Planning Session. We must have your Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment returned to our office 3 days prior to your Session either by mail, fax, or electronic mail or we will need to reschedule your Session. Feel free to call the office at any time if you need assistance completing your worksheet or have any questions at all.

If you have existing estate planning documents, please make sure that we have your existing documents in our office at least a week before your meeting so that we can review them prior to meeting with you.

What to Expect the Day of Your Personal Family Wealth Planning Session

On the day of your meeting, please expect to spend up to 2 hours with your attorney. The initial meeting with your attorney has two purposes:

To guide you to become more financially organized and clear than you ever have been before, so you can finally relax around what you have and what you need.

Give you clarity on how to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones after you are gone. Because no one wants to leave a mess for the ones they love.

By looking at what would happen under your current plan (or the State's plan for you if you do not have a plan), you can identify what you would want to happen differently and then together with your Personal Family Lawyer's guidance make the decisions that are necessary to give you the peace of mind of knowing your family would be taken care of in the way you want if something happened to you.

In the event that your Family Wealth Planning Session reveals specific ways you would want things to happen that are different than what would happen under your current plan or the State's plan for you, you and your Personal Family Lawyer will design a plan to ensure everything goes as you choose.

Our Planning Process

We know, beginning your estate plan is a big step. So our process is designed to ensure your confidence in the planning process each step of the way. Every decision is carefully reviewed with you and yet the entire process doesn't stretch out beyond 8 weeks, so you know that within two months after meeting with your Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., Personal Family Lawyer, your family could be totally protected.

It's the perfect combination of efficiency and warmth.

The planning process itself begins with an initial meeting that is an opportunity for you to meet with Marianne S. Rantala, so that you each can determine whether there is a good fit between you and our firm.

During this initial meeting, Marianne will walk you through exactly what your loved ones would have to do and where your assets would go if something happened to you.

You will then be able to determine if there was anything about your current plan (or the state's plan for you) that you don't like, and you'll give clear input on what you would want to happen if something happened to you.

Assuming there is a good fit between you and our firm, Marianne will help you to choose the planning level and fee that is right for your family (we have three different planning levels to accommodate your needs—our fees begin at $2,000 and they are all-inclusive, so there are no surprises) and you and Marianne will then design a plan that will give you peace of mind in knowing your family will be taken care of in the event the unthinkable happens.

Sometimes, depending on the level of planning you choose and the complexity of your situation, a second design meeting is needed, or a Whole Family Wealth Audit meeting, to review your more complex financial matters.

Once your plan has been designed to your satisfaction, you will return to our office about 4–6 weeks later to sign your planning documents. At this point, your family and your assets will be totally protected in the case of your death or incapacity.

In most law firms, the relationship ends there.

But we see the signing of these documents as the beginning of our relationship with your family. This is where our law firm is very different.

After you sign your legal documents, we don't just send you on your way and wish you luck for the future. Instead, we create an electronic record of all of your legal documents so you can easily access them anytime you need to in the future and then schedule a legacy meeting with you. This is one of the most important meetings of our process because it's where we:

  1. Ensure your assets are all owned in the right way (you can have the best set of legal documents, but if your assets are not owned in the right way, it's all been a waste).
  2. Make sure everyone you've named to take care of your kids, the money you are leaving behind, or you—if you cannot take care of yourself—knows just what to do, if and when something happens.
  3. Capture and plan for your intangible assets—the values, insights, stories, and experiences—you would never want lost.

And this is where we make sure you understand everything we've put in place for you and your family.

Then, we still aren't done! We meet with you at least every three years to review your plan and make sure it stays up to date. If that's not included in the planning you are doing, the set of documents you get are very unlikely to work when your family needs them.

Probate and Estate Administration
Probate

Probate is the public Surrogate's Court process where your Last Will and Testament is reviewed and approved by a judge, and your property and possessions are distributed to your beneficiaries after your debts are paid off.

In New York State, the probate proceedings are filed in the county where you were living when you died. Your "estate" is made up of your property and possessions. The Surrogate's court appoints an "executor" through legal documents called "letters testamentary."

Generally, only an estate valued over $30,000 must go through the probate process. An estate without a will (when a person dies "intestate") is "administered," not probated. Also, certain assets, like the proceeds of an insurance policy, retirement accounts—like a 401k and IRA—and other accounts with a named beneficiary, are not subject to the probate process. However, there is no control over how the beneficiary will spend those assets when received. Also, if the beneficiary is under 18 years of age, the Surrogate's Court must appoint a "guardian" to handle the assets until the beneficiary reaches 18 years of age.

The executor named in the will files a petition in Surrogate's Court, along with the original of your will. The petition will include a great deal of information, including the date of death, beneficiaries named in the will, legal heirs if the will is invalid, and an estimate of the value of the estate. All interested people, i.e., beneficiaries and legal heirs, will be notified of the probate proceeding. These proceedings are open to the public.

The executor may be paid for their work based on the estate's value. During probate, the executor is responsible for: marshalling and inventorying all your property and transferring it to the estate, paying your bills and taxes, collecting debts owed to the estate, investing and managing your assets during the probate proceeding, and distributing your property to the named beneficiaries at the end of the probate proceeding.

The Surrogate's Court judge's job is to determine if your will was properly executed by you and the witnesses, that you were of sound mind when you signed the will, and that you were not unduly influenced or coerced to make the will. If all of that is proven the judge makes sure that your wishes are carried out pursuant to the will. Usually, the judge does this by reading your will. Sometimes, however, evidence may show that the will does not reflect your wishes, or the will may have some other problems. If that happens, the judge may not be able to follow the will and the proceeding will be treated as an "intestate administration."

Probate can be totally or mostly avoided by proper estate planning that must be implemented in your lifetime.

Intestate Administration

An Intestate Administration is where legal heirs (rather than your intended beneficiaries) will inherit your property. The Surrogate's Court will appoint an "Administrator" for the estate if you died with assets valued at $30,000 or more. Since there is no will appointing an Executor, persons eligible to be the Administrator are set forth in the law. Usually, the Administrator will be the spouse, the children (if no spouse), the grandchildren, the father or mother, the brother or sisters, etc.

An Administration Petition is filed with the Surrogate's Court in the county in which you resided at death to start the Administration proceeding. After jurisdiction has been completed and all issues have been addressed, the judge will issue Letters of Administration. This document gives the appointed Administrator the power to act on behalf of the estate.

The role of the Administrator is the same as that of the Executor. The Administrator is responsible for marshalling and inventorying all your property and transferring it to the estate, paying your bills and taxes, collecting debts owed to the estate, investing and managing your assets during the Administration proceeding, and distributing your property—not to the named beneficiaries of your will, but to heirs according to the law.

It is a certainty that Intestate Administration can be totally avoided by proper estate planning that must be implemented in your lifetime.

Guardianship

Guardianship is when a court gives a person the legal right and power to make decisions for another person who is unable to make decisions for themselves. Depending on the type of guardianship asked for, and the person over whom guardianship is requested, the case is handled by the Family Court, the Supreme Court, or the Surrogate's Court.

A Guardianship Petition is filed in the appropriate court. If a child under the age of 18 must have a Guardian to manage inherited assets from the child's parent(s), the Surrogate's Court handles the guardianship. The Family Court may become involved where the minor child has no property to manage, but has no named guardian. If an adult becomes incapacitated, the Supreme Court manages the case.

Each type of guardianship indicated above can be effectively avoided by proper estate planning and/other necessary planning that must be implemented in your lifetime.

Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment Worksheet

The Family Wealth Inventory and Assessment is designed to help you focus in on the important information and questions that are necessary to get your legal and financial house in order.

We ask you to fill it out and return it to us in advance of our appointment so that we can have the most productive time together.

  1. Print the Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment worksheet.
  2. Fill in as much as you can.
  3. Make an appointment with us to discuss your plan.
  4. Return the Family Wealth Inventory & Assessment worksheet to us at least 3 days in advance of our appointment.

If the worksheet does not open, you may need to download the 'Free' Acrobat Reader here

Trust Administration

Marianne S. Rantala, P.C., stands ready to assist your loved ones and trustees in administering any type of trust fund created and implemented during your lifetime after you pass. We are here to create peace of mind for you and your loved ones.