To attain dreams through wise guidance and advocacy
Through the use of Living Trusts, Wills (simple & complex), Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Irrevocable Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, and Charitable Gifting Strategies, our firm helps families preserve their wealth for future generations, minimize estate taxes, and avoid the expense and nightmare of probate.
Legacy Planning is a more holistic approach to estate planning. We help clients preserve their financial wealth and their legacy, including their life stories and family heirlooms, for future generations. Our non-traditional planning methods include special provisions and protections in Living Trusts, Wills (simple & complex), Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Irrevocable Trusts, Family Limited Partnerships, and Charitable Gifting Strategies. This planning also includes minimizing estate taxes, avoiding the expense and nightmare of probate, protecting against remarriage after death of the 1st spouse, and protecting beneficiaries from a possible future divorce.
FAMILY-OWNED BUSINESSES & FARMS
Our law firm offers estate planning assistance for the unique needs of Family Businesses and Farms. We help clients preserve this important part of their legacy for future generations.
In the unfortunate event that you become incapacitated, you can ensure that your adult children are prepared for this situation as much as possible by planning for your own incapacity. With the help of an estate planning attorney, you can build an estate plan that takes into account possible incapacity so that your adult children know your wishes.
Our law firm helps clients create a plan to handle their affairs in the event of an incapacity before they pass away. This includes planning to avoid a Living Probate or Guardianship proceeding.
IRA & RETIREMENT PLANNING
If you have an IRA through your employer, it’s important to know how to choose the right beneficiary so that it doesn’t get into the wrong hands upon your death.
Our law firm has experience in the complex area of estate planning with IRAs and other retirement plans. We help ensure clients and their beneficiaries are protected by employing tax reduction techniques.
ELDER LAW & MEDICAL SERVICES
The complexity surrounding the constantly changing area of the law rules on Medi-Cal can sometimes feel overwhelming… it doesn’t need to be. We help clients qualify for government medical benefits legally and ensure their estates are preserved for their families, instead of their nest egg being wiped out by high nursing home expenses.
BUSINESS OWNERS & ASSET PROTECTION
We help clients who are small business owners and those who are most susceptible to being sued by assisting with Lawsuit and Asset Protection. We also assist with Business Succession Planning and Small Business Planning. Some of the tools and strategies used are Family Limited Partnerships, Limited Liability Companies and Buy-Sell Agreements.
ESTATE PLANNING & YOUR PETS
When it comes to protecting your pet, no one does it better than you do. But how can you ensure that your pet continues to receive the love and care they need when you’re no longer around? Our firm cares about the welfare of your pets. Your beloved pets need to be protected in the event you are no longer there to take care of them. Estate Planning and implementing a Pet’s Trust can ensure that your pets are provided for after your death.
SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
We offer assistance to clients who have special needs family members by creating Special Needs Estate Plans. These tailored plans help them preserve government benefits while having their loved one cared for in all areas of their life: financial, educational and medical, and most importantly, their emotional and personal needs in the future.
TRUST ADMINISTRATION & PROBATE
If your family has experienced the loss of a family member, our law firm can assist you with the legal process that occurs when a loved one passes away. Our law firm strongly believes that a wisely drafted, carefully executed estate plan is the critical component of a family’s wealth management. Our firm’s guiding principle is to provide families with quality Trust Administration and Probate services tailored to each client’s specific needs and goals.
IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT BASED GREEN CARDS
Our law firm is operated by a skilled and experienced team of immigration attorneys and professionals, each of whom is committed to helping our clients overcome all manner of immigration matters. We have professionals and attorneys with over 30 years of immigration and legal experience working on a wide variety of employment-based immigration matters and visa services. Our immigration services include immigrant visas such as EB-1A (Extraordinary Ability), EB-1C (Multinational Executive and Manager), EB-2 (Schedule A, Group II, NIW, Perm and Exceptional Ability), EB-3 (Perm, Professionals Skilled or Unskilled Worker) and EB-5 (Immigrant Investor Program).
Our team has successfully received USCIS approvals for over 70 EB-5 regional centers, and has been actively involved in structuring over 200 projects that have incorporated foreign investor funding from as little as $500,000 to as much as $300 million under the EB-5 program.
Our dedicated professionals work with clients to assess their financial situation and explore their options. If you are suffering from constant harassment from creditors, you may qualify to file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy. Our legal team will guide you through the process and protect any eligible assets you may have. We will assist you with a personalized repayment plan, or discharge all or part of your past debt.
Our group of professionals analyze each elderly client’s case individually to determine their needs and explore their options. Our objective is to make sure our clients take full advantage of their need- based benefits in addition to their entitled benefits. We are committed to help clients navigate the resources available to them to improve their quality of life and preserve their independence.
NON-IMMIGRANT PETITIONS & VISAS
Our skilled and experienced team of professionals and immigration attorneys provide legal services to obtain non-immigrant visas such a H-1B (foreign worker in specialty occupations) , H-1B extension, H-1B transfer, E-2 (Treaty Investor and Managers), O (Extraordinary Ability), L-1A ( Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager) & L-1B (Intracompany Transferee with Specialized Knowledge).
FAMILY PETITION AND VISA
We know how important family is; We will handle your matter with great care. Our skilled and experienced team of professionals and immigration attorneys can help you obtain family based green cards and visas. Our services include filing relative immigration petition and visa service for the reunification of spouse, parent or child for US citizens as well as permanent residents.
Founded in 1996, Global Law Group (“GLG”) is located in Pasadena of Los Angeles County, California. Linda Wong is the President and Principal Attorney of Global Law Group with over 30 years of legal experience. With a team of 20 experienced professionals, GLG is committed to offering the best service to our global clients.
Linda Wong, originally from Hong Kong, earned her Juris Doctor from UCLA. She is a member of the California State Bar and is also admitted as a Solicitor of England and Wales. Linda received her Bachelor’s degree from U.C. Berkeley and also holds an MSW degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. With over 30 years of legal experience, Ms. Wong represents individuals as well as corporate clients, with their immigration needs in the business arena. In addition, Ms. Wong also assists families with their Will and Trust matters. She has been honored with "The Best Lawyers in America” award for 5 years, including 2019.
Bert Kawahara brings over 30 years of legal expertise in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate, and Bankruptcy. His practice areas also extend to Business Regulatory Compliance. He is a member of the Los Angeles Bar Association and Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association. Bert has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California and obtained his Juris Doctor from Loyola School of Law.
Helyn Lau has accumulated over 12 years of legal experience in the practice areas of immigration, business litigation and estate planning. She is a member of the California State Bar and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Helyn received a Bachelor of Arts degree in the field of International Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. She then went on to receive her Juris Doctor in 2007 from Southwestern Law School, where she was a member of the Moot Court Honors Program.
Shawn Chou brings a wealth of experience and community involvement to Global Law Group. His legal career began in 1998 after graduating from U.C. Berkeley and then from Loyola School of Law where he earned is Juris Doctor. Shawn was named as “Top Attorney” by Pasadena Magazine in 2011 and 2012. He is a member of the Los Angeles Bar Association, Executive Committee of Immigration Law Section, American Immigration Lawyers Association, and President of the Taiwanese American Lawyers Association.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is a revocable living trust?
A revocable living trust is created while you are alive and can be amended or cancelled at any time. A will should accompany a trust, which helps to manage your assets while you are alive and after death.
2. Why would I need both a will and a trust?
Sometimes not everything has been transferred into your trust in a timely manner. Consequently, a Will can “pour over” any assets not previously included into your Trust after death.
3. What is probate?
Probate is a court-supervised proceeding intended to ensure that your property gets distributed to the legally entitled people and that all your debts are paid. It is an expensive process and can last a year or longer. Having a trust would avoid an expensive probate and keep distribution private.
4. What would happen to my children if I am unconscious without a will or a trust?
Somebody will have to go to court to get permission to handle your and your children’s financial and personal affairs. This procedure is called a Conservatorship for adults and a Guardianship for minors. This “somebody” could be a relative, friend, or the government.
You can avoid the uncertainty by having a Trust that can manage your assets during your disability for yourself and your children without having to get permission from the court. Your personal affairs (medical care, education, religion, where you live, etc.) can be managed by an agent you have preselected through an Advanced Health Care Directive. The personal affairs of your minor children (no parents) can only be managed through a court supervised Guardianship.
5. What do I do if my pets outlive my spouse and myself, and how can I protect and provide for them until their own passing?
Providing for pets beyond your lifetimes can be done by gifting money to a trust (to be created within your own trust) that has instructions on how to take care of your pets, for how long and by whom. As a practical matter, you may need to fund this special trust with enough funds to carry out your instructions and enough financial incentive for somebody to carry out your instructions.
6. How do I make sure that my children of my previous marriage are not entitled to the trust inheritance when I pass?
You can disinherit anyone you want by specifically disinheriting them in your Will and Trust documents. Child support will survive your death and have priority status against your estate.
7. How do I protect my spouse or my children if they become disabled in the future?
A trust can provide flexibility by having contingent instructions to redirect a potential inheritance if the beneficiary is disabled. The money can be redirected to other heirs or into a “Special Needs Trust” to take care of the disabled spouse just enough to maintain eligibility for government benefits.
8. If my spouse and I pass, what will happen to my underage children if we have no other surviving family, and there is no will or trust?
Orphaned minor children are taken care of through instructions you have given in your Will and Living Trust – who will manage their personal and financial affairs. If you did not leave any instructions, the government Probate Code directs who can take care of their personal and financial affairs through the Guardianship process. Anybody can petition (ask) the court to become the minor children’s Guardian. However, the court will approve only whom the court believes will be in the best interest of the children. If no friend or relative comes forth or responds to somebody else’s Petition for Guardianship, the government will step in and place the children in its foster care system. This allows a government approved foster family to take care of the minor children until they are adults or are adopted. The foster family is paid by the government and/or the deceased parents’ estate.
9. How to minimize disputes between beneficiaries, when they each own a percentage of a single real estate?
By owning real estate in an LLC, you can give the shares of the entity and the entity’s Operating Agreement provides for control in one person and penalties if one party contests management’s decisions or demands to be bought out.
10. How often should I update my trust?
You should update your trust if you want to change your beneficiary section, change the proposed successor trustees, or when you want to make other changes in your life circumstances. Tax laws will change periodically which may affect your estate plan, so you should have your trust and will reviewed every 2 or 3 years.
1. CAN I HAVE MY DEBTS DISCHARGED?
Normally, all unsecured debts can be discharged depending on the type of debt (exceptions are listed in Bankruptcy Code Section 523). The major exceptions are government taxes (with some exceptions), fraudulently incurred debt, and child and spousal support obligations.
Secured debts are discharged to the extent of your personal liability. However, the security provided by the debt is still valid. If you do not pay the secured debt, the lender can repossess the property. If you want to keep the property that is secured, you must continue to make the payments despite the debt being discharged. Under certain circumstances, all or part of the secured debt can be removed so you own the property free and clear of the lien. With proper planning, you can minimize or eliminate the existence of nondischargeable debt if you file for bankruptcy.
2. CAN I SAVE THE MONEY I HAVE NOW EVEN THOUGH I STILL OWE THE IRS AND CREDITORS?
Your money can be saved if it is exempt and you manage to discharge your IRS and other creditor debts. Even if your money is exemptible, if your IRS debt is nondischargeable, it will eventually try to collect the money from your available assets. Your exemptions are not valid against the IRS. Consequently, if you have nondischargeable tax obligations, you must develop other methods to satisfy the IRS claims such as “offers in compromise” or “installment plans.”
3. CAN I PROTECT MY ASSETS BEFORE I LOSE THEM?
The goal of your bankruptcy attorney is to minimize the damage from having too much nondischargeable debt or nonexempt assets when you file any type of bankruptcy. You can keep assets that are exempt from your creditor’s reach (in California, this list of exempt property is in the Code of Civil Procedure). If you want to keep any nonexempt assets, you can file a “reorganization” bankruptcy in which you buy back those assets through a repayment plan.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy implies that you are giving up all your nonexempt assets in exchange for discharging all your unsecured debt. You want to plan far enough ahead so that you minimize or eliminate your nonexempt assets. Assets free of any liens can be protected if exempt. In a business reorganization, you can keep the unprotected assets with a properly developed plan of reorganization.
4. CAN I REORGANIZE OR RESTRUCTURE MY COMPANY TO SAVE MY BUISINESS?
We can develop a Plan of Reorganization to save your business if the business operation is strong enough to pay for continued operation, and the business simply requires temporary relief from paying the current debt load. A successful Plan of Reorganization will have to pay all current operating expenses with the current revenue. Current operating expenses include secured debt service for those assets necessary for business operations.
If the business cannot generate enough revenue to pay its current overhead, notwithstanding its debt service, a Plan of Reorganization will likely not work. Alternative planning can involve moving to more affordable premises, changing operating methods and reducing overhead to match expected operating income.
Once you determine that your business can survive by being able to pay its current overhead from current operations, you must then determine whether it can generate additional cash flow to pay for the minimum debt service on past debt. Prebankruptcy creditors must be paid a sum equal to an amount that they would have received had you liquidated all your business assets. Businesses, other than a sole proprietorship, are not entitled to property exemption.
5. CAN I REBUILD BY CREDIT DESPITE ALL OF MY DEBTS?
Bankruptcy does not eliminate your credit rating, but it does lower it. If your credit rating is very low pre-bankruptcy, bankruptcy may raise your credit score gradually. Once you get a discharge through bankruptcy, you can immediately start rebuilding your credit rating by paying all your obligations on time, including utility bills. One efficient way to rebuild credit is to incur new debt and make sure that it is always paid on time. There are lenders that will lend you money to buy a car, get a new credit card and even buy a house, but the interest rates are typically higher. You will have to be careful in opening new credit lines, since debt is what gets people and businesses into trouble and can ultimately lead to bankruptcy and poor credit again.
OUR LEGAL TEAM
President-licensed in California
Solicitor of England and Wales
Attorney-licensed in California
Attorney-licensed in California
Attorney-licensed in California
© 2019 by Global Law Group