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Corporate Transparency Act

Fresh Out of the Courts – Corporate Transparency Act

Corporate Transparency ActThis year signaled a major shift in corporate reporting in California.  In short, the Corporate Transparency Act (Act) came into effect January 1, requiring certain companies to report on beneficial ownership.  While business lawyers at HVP have been preparing for the new reporting requirements under the Act, there have been legal challenges to the Act making its implementation uncertain.  Most recently, a federal district court in Alabama has ruled on a case which attacked the constitutionality of the Act. Last week the federal district court ruled that the Act is unconstitutional because it was not within Congress’ enumerated powers. While … Read More


Gratitude, Service, and the Quest for Excellence

GratitudeAt its core, gratitude lets us appreciate the here and now instead of always looking for something new to make us feel happier or more fulfilled. As a recent Harvard study notes “Gratitude helps people refocus on what they have instead of what they lack.”

Here at HVP, we are grateful for the rewards of lawyering north of the bustling SF Bay Area. Here we get to practice law, raise our families, and provide civic engagement and service. Our lives are enriched because we get to offer legal advice and services to our friends and neighbors throughout the Wine Country … Read More


Megan Garner Joins Haeuser, Valluzzo & Piasta as Firm Continues Growth Spurt

megan_garnerSONOMA, CA – November 20, 2023 Haeuser, Valluzzo & Piasta LLP is pleased to announce that Megan Garner has joined the firm as an associate. Megan’s experience in estate planning, estate administration, and business law supplements HVP’s strengths in these areas of practice. Megan’s addition to the firm continues the growth spurt precipitated by Whipple & Supple joining the firm as of counsel earlier this year to provide employment law advice and counsel to the firm’s clients. Cumulatively, these moves expand HVP’s long-time foundation in Sonoma. Combining Megan’s experience in Napa with Wright & Supple’s clientele in the North Bay, … Read More

trust puzzle

First―What is a living trust?

trust puzzleA living trust lets you manage your assets such as money, property, and business interests, with you as the one in charge as trustee. It also provides for how you want your assets managed if you are unable to do so. In those situations, a successor trustee named by you will manage your assets to your benefit during your lifetime and then distribute those assets to your beneficiaries as named in your trust without going through and paying a court.

Trusts can be set up to be revocable in case you want to change your mind at a future date. … Read More


Introducing HVP Trust Series

quoteWe want to help every family to have an estate plan. Our new Trust series will explore the basics of estate planning, show you how to navigate the trust process, determine if and when you need legal help, and assist you as needed.

When you know, you know. Everyone has an estate. And no matter how modest, almost everyone can benefit from setting up a living trust. As estate planners, we create living trusts for our clients all the time. From modest to sophisticated, we know the ropes. As part of our ‘law for everyone’ concept, we want to give … Read More


Strategies to Lower Your Property Tax Bill

tax formsIt’s that time of year when property owners look towards paying that tax bill.  Your property tax bill includes payments for various things, other than property tax.  In addition to property tax, the bill includes charges for voter approved taxes and direct charges from taxing agencies. These charges are all specifically identified on one’s bill for property taxes.  A little-known fact is that these additional amounts sometimes will include various exemptions.  The most common is for senior citizens, defined as age sixty-five (65) or older.  Luckily for folks reaching this category, they can go through this list of charges and … Read More

Portrait of confident businesswoman with team of business people in background

The HVP Experience—What sets us apart?

The HVP Experience—What sets us apart?

Portrait of confident businesswoman with team of business people in backgroundSimply stated, HVP lawyers give our clients a competitive edge. Every one of us attended top-ranked law schools, learned our craft from well-recognized legal teams affiliated with sophisticated law firms, and maintain close ties to the communities we serve. We want to be the lawyers you trust to have your best interests at heart, and to go the distance for our clients. As business strategists, we trailblaze an entrepreneurial approach to legal services that realigns traditional service models. How do we do this? Read on.

ABA Approved

Each of our lawyers got their start

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legacy and succession

Legacy & Succession

Thomas A. Haeuser

legacy and successionPartner Thomas A. Haeuser takes on new role as HVP advisor and community leader

We are proud and pleased to announce that our long-time partner Thomas Haeuser will be taking on a new role at the firm in the new year. Effective January 1 2022, Tom will continue to serve in an advisory capacity, taking a step back from active practice to focus on community activities. Those around town already know Tom for his presence on the Plaza and his unflagging efforts to make our town and the surrounding community a special place for businesses and families … Read More

Delaware Statutory Trusts

A tool in California that asset protection lawyers use is a Delaware Statutory Trust, otherwise known as a DST. The mechanics are rather simple and set forth in the Delaware Statutory Trust Act. One erects the business structure with the appropriate documentary filings including the naming of non-California agents to act on behalf of the trust. These things together act to limit liability by having the official actors out of state. The out-of-state defendant is harder to involve in a California lawsuit.

The benefits include circumventing the standard California business tax and asset protection. In addition, a DST may be … Read More

Proposition 19 Impacts Family Winery Legacy

A recent legacy case illustrates how Proposition 19 impacts grandparents wishing to leave their family vineyard property to their granddaughter.

Change in the Law
Effective February 16, 2021, Prop. 19 modified the reassessment exclusion for parents and grandparents wishing to pass down their property to their children or grandchildren who were not going to live there, leaving certain estates vulnerable.

What About the Exclusion Limits?
Prior to Prop. 19, primary residences of unlimited value could be transferred avoiding reassessment up to an additional $1 million of assessed value. This also had zero requirement that the child lives at that property. … Read More


Securing Your Digital Property and Passing it Along

intel-propIn this day and age of websites, blogs, coaching programs and such, if you own a business that has these things, if something were to happen to you, what would happen to these things?

These sort of things are what is referred to as ‘intellectual properties’ and if you have a will or estate plan that includes directives for your business you might think more about protecting these aspects to your business or endeavor.

Under the law, in the broadest sense an intellectual property is an abstract item such a concept, ideas or formula and so on. To protect things … Read More

name change

Name Changes & Legality

Recently as marriage equality and identity classifications have been critiqued more closely by the LGBTQ community, here’s some info about name changes.

Basically it’s not that difficult.

Anybody can change their name legally. Just make sure it is not to commit fraud or make a false identity.

The simplest and most common is when people marry.

Today’s customs and attitudes about marriage lets women keep a “maiden name” or allows for a hyphenated name.

Hyphenated names are used in England. Historically, it has been part of the class or caste-system in English society. Hyphenated names were passed down as a … Read More


Beginner’s Guide to Bankruptcy

by Mary Piasta

bankruptcyWhen we talk of asset protection, many think of bankruptcy.  But there is a social norm with this type of word preventing many from considering it seriously.  The truth is that many very wealthy individuals in our country are not so dissuaded and utilize filing for bankruptcy as a means to preserve wealth.

For example, one entrepreneur went through bankruptcy four times in his life and left a legacy including a private foundation.  For others it means wiping the slate clean to rebuild their wealth.

Historically speaking bankruptcy was a way to depart from the English precedent … Read More