Living Trusts, Startups, 

Business Law & Real Estate Law

The law offices of

Mark Ruiz 


New Venture Law  - Startups


The Silicon Valley is the global center of innovation.   The Law Offices of Mark Ruiz has helped several Startups choose the proper entity form, as well making sure that the founders avoid common mistakes such as failing to file an 83b election on time so that they are not taxed by the IRS when the values of their shares sky rocket on paper.


We also help startups with Funding strategy.  Many people believe that the only options for funding are attempting to raise funds from Silicon Valley Angel Investors or Venture Capitalists.  While attracting capital from Silicon Valley Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists  is certainly one approach that makes sense for certain types of entrepreneurial ventures, often times entrepreneurs find that there are other options to raise capital besides the traditional approaches.  These include, but are not limited to raising capital through a private placement memorandum and crowd funding.


Business Law          


It has never been more important to have a go-to person for your legal needs of your Business.  The Law Offices of Mark Ruiz offers a unique , cost effective, approach to helping Businesses with their needs.    Mark Ruiz , who has an undergraduate background in Business and a Business Law Certificate, has a passion for helping  businesses because he came from a family of Small Business owners and has witnessed first hand the importance of having sound legal advice when operating a small business.

  • Our General Counsel Package:  If you are a small business you are likely to find our general counsel package apealling.  For a fixed and reasonable monthly fee, our clients have a set number of hours each month  in which they can consult the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz on a wide variety of business matters ranging from contract review, to collections, to issues with personell.  This package is ideal for businesses who frequently enter into contracts or have voluminous receivables which they need to keep on top of.  Please call 650-771-0376 to find out about our plans! 
  • Contract review and negotiation:​ Businesses enter into contracts all the time with suppliers, customers, investors, strategic partners and value added resellers.  It is important to review clauses such as Indeminifcation,  Warranties, and Limitations on Liabilility, because a mistake in this area can potentially cost a business millions of dollars.  By the same token, a sound decision with regards to these provisions can potentially make or save a business millions of dollars. 
  • Receivables CollectionsDo your clients owe your business thousands of dollars in past due receivables? If so then our approach to collection can probably help you.  In the past, the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz has been successful in collectiing on behalf of businesses by using a tactful, relatively non-threatening approach that is solution oriented and makes your customers want to pay their bills rather than spending thousands of dollars defending a lawsuit.    
  • Business litigation :  If you own a small or mid-size business, there will inevitably come a time when your business is sued or will have to sue to enforce an obligation.  Often times these disputes involve mundane issues such as breach of contract.  The Law Offices of Mark Ruiz has helped business with garden variety breach of contract type suits but has also helped out with more complicated cases such as Tortious Interference with Business Relations.


Estate Planning


With the ageing of the Baby Boomer generation, many people are beginning to realize the importance of having a comprehensive Estate Plan in place.   The goal of Estate Planning is to plan how your affairs will be handled in the event of incapacity or death.  The majority of Americans die without having even a simple will, so the laws of intestate succession are left to determine how one's assets are distributed.  In some cases, the intestate succession laws lead to a distribution of assets that are in line with what the deceased person would have wanted such as a distribution to one's spouse or children.  However, in other situations, the laws of intestate succession lead to results that are reprehensible such as would be the case in a situation where the laws of intestate succession lead to a distribution to a despised relative, or worse yet, the government! Having a Living Trust in place allows you to be the architect of your legacy and at the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz, we are are here to help you with this.


At the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz we have a comprehensive Estate Planning Package which includes a Living Trust, a Pour Over Will, and Advanced Health Care Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney.


  • Living Trusts​​ :  Nowadays, in terms of planning for the hereafter, it is generally recommended that a person set up a Living Trust, rather than a Will, for three reasons.   First a Living Trust is more cost effective because when a person passes away with a Will they are subject to probate which often entails expensive  attorneys fees and court costs. Administering a Living Trust is generally more cost effective than administering a Probate.  Second, Probate is often time consuming because it involves the oversight of the court.  A Living Trust can be administered without the oversight of the court, and thus, tends to move more rapidly. Third, for those concerned about privacy, Trusts are preferable to Wills because , if your Estate is subject to Probate, when you die your assets will have to be disclosed to the court in an Inventory and Appraisal and your net worth and assets become a matter of public record.
  • Wills and Pour-Over Wills:  Although you can circumvent Probate by having a Living Trust rather than a will, it is still imperative to have a document called a Pour-Over Will prepared along with your living Trust.  This is to ensure that the assets which are inadvertently not transferred into the Trust during your lifetime, become part of the Trust's assets when you pass away.  For example, you might have set up a Living Trust, but forgot to title a Charles Schwab Account with $400,000 as a Trust Asset.  If you have a Pou-Over Will which states that you intend all of your assets to become part of the Trust, it should be relatively seamless to title the Schwab Account as part of the Trust upon your death.  Please note that  there are also rare occasions when it makes sense to have a Will rather than a Trust, such as when court oversight is desirable to make determinations regarding legal and equitable ownership of certain assets .
  • Durable Powers of Attorneys:  It is a good idea to have a Durable Power of Attorney so that, in the event of incapacity,  a loved one such as a Spouse can make financial decisions such as buying and selling Real Property, opening and closing Bank Accounts, transferring property into a trust or initiating or defending a lawsuit on your behalf.
  • Advanced Health Care Directive:  Advanced Health Care Directives allow you to specify your wishes in critical situations.  These wishes indicate in what situations, if any, would you like to be placed on life support or if you would like to be an organ donor.  Additionally, you will appoint a loved one to be your representative to ensure that your wishes are carried out in these sort of critical situations.
  • Probate:  Probate is a time consuming and complicated process that involves filing documents with the court such as an inventory and appraisal. If your loved has passed away and are subject to probate, the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz is happy to assist you with the probate process with the goal of making the process move as quickly as possible with a minimum of headaches.  


Asset Protection


For better or worse, the United States has become a highly litigious society.  Every year, millions of lawsuits are filed in the United States.  If you are a high net worth individual or a business owner, you are likely to be the target of a lawsuit at least once in your life.  Lawsuits can be extremely draining both financially and psychologically.  The best defense to a lawsuit is to protect  your assets before you are sued.  If a zealous Plaintiff's attorney  reaches the conclusion that you do not have assets or that your assets are beyond reach, he or she is less likely to initiate a lawsuit against  you because it means that the attorney is less likely to get paid if the client cannot collect from you.   Additionally, if you are sued, having an asset protection plan in place allows you to negotiate a better settlement because if your assets are unreachable the Plaintiff will not bother spending money on litigation to prove a point and instead strongly consider accepting any settlement he or she can get.


An asset protection strategy might entail one or more of the following.


  • Charging Order protective entities;   Nevada and Wyoming LLC's are the best states for asset protection because the exclusive remedy available to creditors of an LLC member  is what is known as a charging order.   This exclusive remedy applies even in the case of single member LLC.  A charging order is a remedy that allows the creditor to be entitled to distributions from the LLC.  However, if the LLC does not make distributions, the creditor does not get to collect. In fact, the creditor  might have to pay taxes on the undistributed income of the LLC, which actually deters creditors from wanting to obtain a charging order. Even if you are based in California (or any State for that matter) you can still set up an LLC chartered in Nevada or Wyoming. 
  • Asset Protection Trusts: Nevada and Wyoming each have laws which  allow for the creation of a special type of irrevocable trust that protects assets from most creditors.   For the most part the assets protection trust are out of reach of creditors after they are "seasoned " meaning that they have been transferred in the trust for a period of time, usually two years.  Again, you need not be domiciled in Nevada or Wyoming to set up an asset protection trust in these jurisdictons.
  • Limited Partnerships : Limited Partnerships are another entity that, depending on jurisdiction,  in certain circumstances are ideal for asset protection.  
  • Offshore asset protection strategy: Often times, offshore jurisdictions provide an even greater degree of asset protection than domestic entities.  This is because generally US judges do not have the authority to legally compel a foreign trustee to release funds or assets to a judgment creditor based in the US.  The best jurisdictions for offshore asset protection are the  Cook Islands, Nevis, and the Isle of Man.      


Real Estate Law


 At the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz, we have a passion for Real Estate Law, in part,  because it's founder grew up in a family who was in the business of Real Estate Brokerage and Development.  To this day Mark Ruiz is a licensed California Real Estate Broker.  While working for the family business, Ruiz learned that legal considerations are the centerpiece of f every Real Estate deal.  At the Law Offices of Mark Ruiz we provide the following services:


  • Contract review and negotiation:  As both a licensed California Real Estate Broker and a California Attorney, Mark Ruiz can help draft,  negotiate and review purchase and sale agreements, leases,  options, ground leases and other Real Estate agreements.  
  • Litigation:  Mark Ruiz has successfully helped many clients enforce their Real Property rights through the litigation process.  Often times, litigation is appropriate when the other party to a Real Estate contract refuses to live up to their agreement.  
  • Unlawful Detainers: The Law Offices of Mark Ruiz has a great deal of experience in helping landlords remove tenants in a timely, cost effective manner, while at the same time keeping the human aspect in perspective so that the tenants do not have a bad taste in their mouth during this stressful process.


General Practice 

  • The Law Offices of Mark A. Ruiz also have the capabilities handle other types of Law on a case by case basis. Please contact us to see if we can help your case.




All materials on this website have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about our firm, our services and the experience of our attorney.  The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current and is subject to change without notice.