Author Archives: Mary Piasta

Uber_logo_2018

AB5 and UBER

Uber_logo_2018This past summer the State Supreme Court drummed in again to Uber & Lyft that ride-share companies like themselves must be in compliance of CA State Law AB 5, meaning that they must classify their drivers as employees.

Uber and Lyft are the largest ride-share companies that use app-platform technologies to conduct business. In fact, as noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, Uber is proceeding to buy Postmates, a food delivery app that is similar to DoorDash and GrubHub for over $2 billion in stocks.

Some experts note that Uber and such companies have been able to operate and be … Read More

Why Relying on Another to “Take Care of You” Is Garbage, Especially for Women

grandmother and grandchildby Mary Piasta

While estate planning benefits all individuals regardless of gender, there are reasons why estate planning has different importance to women.

Factors both economic and cultural play a part in this discriminatory unequal treatment of women according to Haeuser, Valluzzo & Piasta LLP, Partner Mary Piasta who heard from Betsy Butler, the current Executive Director of the California Women’s Law Center. A former state Assembly member, Ms. Butler explained that statistics paint a picture of why women need estate planning.

In general, women are more likely to be poor in old age than men. Nearly two-thirds of people … Read More

Business Strategies During Changing Times

playing chessBy Mary Piasta

As states and municipalities are taking initiatives on their own, regardless of Federal intervention, business closure orders are nothing new right now. But as this is the second time this has happened in our county, there are now many examples of how businesses have pivoted to modify their operations to stay open during this time.

Before we get to that, the recent closure order requires high-risk businesses to close.  The lists of businesses included are salons, theaters, wineries and indoor-dining.

Indoor service is the theme here.  If businesses are able to offer services outside, then there are … Read More

People are People

rainbow flagby Mary Piasta

Our firm stance is that people are people and that in general estate planning is the same for all families.

Dying without a will or trust, or even a poorly written one also means it is subject to attack through consternation rules.  For LGBTQ people, especially this means that someone who does not like where you are leaving property can protest for various reasons. (For example, they were forgotten, they have the right to property, etc.).

An estate planning consultation always in California begins with issues of legality of marriage, parenting rights and property rights.  While the … Read More

Will My Stepchildren Inherit?

will my step children inheritby Mary Piasta

Sometimes folks come in with specific questions about their estate plans. One such question is whether their step-children will inherit? As with any question, the answer depends upon various things and the strategy driven by the desired objectives.

For starters, a stepchild is a child of a partner or spouse that you haven’t adopted. If you have adopted them, they are your children.

The answer then turns on what sort of estate documentation exists, if any. If there is a will and/or a trust, sometimes those documents answer the question.

Often there are no estate documents. In … Read More

peace of mind

Peace of Mind Even in Troubled Times

peace of mindCOVID-19 exacerbates worries and fears for everyone. What steps can you take to stay safe from a financial and legal perspective? Now is the right time to improve your business and estate planning with practical financial steps and legal documents to protect your assets now and in the future. The solutions may vary by circumstance, but the practical tips below will provide you with concrete ideas you can use right away.

Check out our recent update, FACTS over FEAR – Financial, Legal and Real Estate Updates, hosted by The Sonoma Brain Trust. For related discussions of other finance, real … Read More

ppp reform

PPP Reform Questions and Answers

ppp reformThere are lots of questions about the anticipated changes to the PPP loan that is awaiting presidential signature. Assuming the legislation is signed as passed, our lawyers consulted with local tax manager Nate Lamar, CPA of Pisenti & Brinker LLP to shed some light on this complicated interplay of laws, tax and regulations.

Of course, before getting into the nitty gritty, as professionals we need to provide a disclaimer that the answers are based on current and proposed federal law and guidance from the Small Business Administration available as of June 4, 2020. Interpretations of the law and SBA guidance … Read More

wineries

Current State of Wineries

wineriesSince the onset of the Coronavirus wineries have been operating at a slower rate than normal, by at least more than 60 percent according to Wine America – the national association of wineries.

This based upon a recent survey also indicated that wineries anticipate a decrease in the purchase of grapes from growers for wine production somewhere between 9 to 22 percent. With layoffs of workers and canceled events numbering in the thousands, some estimates tally that financial loss just for the month of March (when the virus went into “Secure In Place” ordinance mode) reached $40,439,764.

While by that … Read More

Eviction Ban Demystified: Resources for Landlords & Tenants

house-with-teens-on-porchIn response to the pandemic, various governmental bodies have acted to provide protections for residential and commercial tenants.  There is a broad eviction moratorium in effect throughout the state as the Judicial Council of California issued an emergency rule effectively prohibiting evictions for 90 days after the lifting of the Shelter in Place requirements.

By way of background, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a COVID-19 Eviction Defense Ordinance formally referred to as Executive Order N-28-20.  While the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors agreed with Gov. Newsom’s executive order last month to limit residential tenants from evictions due to economic impact … Read More

The Scoop on Short Term Rentals

house-on-hillMy team is fielding numerous calls from panicked landowners who have been served with notices.  “How can I reduce this $7,000 fine?” They ask.  “We paid our Transient Occupancy Tax – through Airbnb?” “And, what about Penalties?” The list from clients goes on and on.

For years folks have benefited from renting parts of their dwellings or ancillary buildings without the benefit of permits.  Technology platforms like Airbnb play into this by allowing an individual to list a property as available as a short-term rental without requiring any permit or verification of such.  The result? Many entrepreneurial folks were able … Read More