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Gary Francis Zilaff

Bankruptcy and debt Attorney at Sacramento, CA

5.0   7 reviews

About Gary

Learn Gary’s areas of practice.

I am a lawyer from a legal family with deep roots in the Sacramento/California area. My family first came to California in the mid 1800's and were prominent ranchers.  In the past century my family turned to the law profession, and has now produced a total of five (5) lawyers over three generations, practicing from California to Australia. I worked with my father Francis W. "Bud" Zilaff from 1977 until his death in 1997.  He taught me to always treat clients with the same care and respect I would my own family and to always return phone calls. I have practiced in two main areas over my 37 year legal career:  Bankruptcy and Probate.  I find that no matter how carefully people have planned their financial affairs life has a way of throwing unexpected curveballs such as divorce, loss of a spouse or partner, illness, loss of a job, or disability.  All of these situations can lead to enormously difficult financial woes such as foreclosures of houses, creditor harassment, judgments and levies or garnishments. I have helped a huge number of clients by stopping these terribly hurtful legal actions so that they can catch their breath.  Clients tell me that they can sleep peacefully for the first time in years after receiving my help. The above takes a lot of careful and compassionate listening, as does my other legal emphasis: Wills, Trusts and Probate.  I am happy to discuss and help my clients with any of their legal needs.

It might also be of interest to potential clients that I am actively involved with the cultural and social life of Sacramento.  I am involved in local charities and social organizations which round out my life. I am a linguist and teach Hawaiian language at a local cultural center, and try to keep in good shape by working out daily at my health club.  

I graduated from Christian Brothers High School in 1969, received my Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Santa Clara University in 1973, and received by Juris Doctor from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge Law School of Law.  I went into practice with my father and continued until his death in 1997. Since that time I have practiced in my own law firm, The Law Offices of Gary F. Zilaff.  You can reach me at (916)920-5025, or through e-mail at [email protected]  I will share with you an hour consultation at no charge or obligation.   

Licensed for 45 years
State CA
Status Active
Acquired 1977
Updated 08/08/2022

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

Contact Gary

The Law Offices of Gary F. Zilaff
1545 River Park Drive
Suite #201
Sacramento, CA, 95815


5.0 / 5.0
  7 customer reviews
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Posted by Kristen | August 6, 2015
Gary Francis Zilaff Bankruptcy Law
Gary Zilaff filed my case quickly and was very professional. He stopped my wages from being garnished, protecting my earnings and giving me peace of mind. He is very nice and puts you at ease, because being in debt can be very stressful. He helped me through a difficult time and I am glad I chose him to handle my case. I would highly recommend him to anyone.
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Posted by anonymous | May 22, 2015
Mr. Gary Zilaff
Mr. Gary Zilaff assisted me at a time when I needed him the most. I had lost my job in 2008 when the economy was in very bad shape. I was transitioning careers and financially times were tough. Mr. Zilaff helped me though my bankruptcy which was embarrassing and emotional for me. He worked with me on a payment plan for his services which is generous to say the least. Ever the professional, always approachable and encouraging, Gary Zilaff is someone I feel lucky to have met and had as my attorney at that time. I could not recommend him more for people out there who are going through financial difficulties.
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Posted by Steven | May 21, 2015
Best Bankruptcy and Probate Attorney in the Sacramento Area
I have worked with Mr. Zilaff on a number of cases and I can personally attest to his professionalism and knowledge of the law. Gary is an experienced practitioner who treats his clients with the utmost respect and diligently works on their cases to reach desired outcomes. I would recommend Gary for anyone considering bankruptcy, as he can not only guide you through the process if you chose to file, but he can also negotiate with creditors to avert filing for bankruptcy. If you want a charming, respectful attorney who will leave no stone unturned on your case, Mr. Zilaff is the first attorney you should call. - Steven T. Kelly, Esq.
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Posted by David | May 20, 2015
Gary Zilaff
Mr. Zilaff is a highly competent, extremely dedicated, and very ethical attorney. In view of his considerable experience in bankruptcy law, I have referred many clients to Gary. I have always found him to be approachable and available. He is an excellent resource for law practitioners on matters pertaining to bankruptcy. Without hesitation I would recommend him highly for one in need of his services.
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Response from Gary Zilaff May 21, 2015
Thank you Dave!
Posted by anonymous | May 12, 2015
Gary gave me my financial stability back!
My entire world was turned upside down when my husband passed away intestate. Gary helped to me figure out everything and give me back something I had lost when I lost my husband - financial stability. Previous attorneys had ran up thousands of dollars in legal fees and Gary put an end to everything. He was able to file all the necessary documents with the Court to ensure that I wouldn't have to hire another attorney again. He is the only one that was honest with me about what exactly I DID need and DIDN'T NEED. I am very grateful to Gary and highly recommend you seek his advice if you have found yourself in need of a great lawyer who gets things done quickly.
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Posted by matt | May 8, 2015
Fantastic Family Attorney
Mr. Zilaff was outstanding in helping me and my family with our trust. He was very accommodating in working around my schedule and made himself available by phone or in person. Once we sat down to start the process, he clearly outlined and explained the different types of wills and trusts, while also giving the benefits and drawbacks of each of them. We went over my current assets, future plans and how best to protect myself and my family from legal and tax consequences. When it came time to finalize the trust, he again was extremely gracious with his time and availability. He answered all of my questions in a very clear and straightforward manner. I didn’t feel like I needed a law degree or dictionary to understand what he was explaining. I would recommend Mr. Zilaff for any personal legal needs.
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Posted by Steve | May 7, 2015
I can’t say enough about the level of appreciation, respect and trust our family has found in the sincere kindness and legal representation provided by Gary Zilaff. After 35 years of civil service and well into retirement, my father-in-law found himself deeper in debt than he ever thought possible. A widower and care provider for his oldest son who is struggling with terminal cancer, my father-in-law exhausted all known resources in an effort to care for his family. However, when his individual needs necessitated his moving into a retirement community, he found he no longer had the discretionary income to do so. Gary Zilaff turned one of his darkest periods in life into that of hope and optimism. In an industry not often known for trustworthiness and compassion, Gary Zilaff has proven otherwise.
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check


AVVO RATING 8.7 (Excellent)

Work Experience

  • Commissioner Pro Tem
  • Sacramento County Small Claims Court
  • 1985 - 2011
  • Managing Partner/ Owner
  • The Law Offices of Gary F. Zilaff
  • 1978 - 2015
  • Legislative Intern
  • California State Legislature
  • 1972 - 1972


  • McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.)
  • 1977
  • Santa Clara University
  • BS - Bachelor of Science
  • 1973

Legal Cases

  • Bankruptcy and Probate


  • Sovereign Military Order of Malta (International Charitable Organization)
  • Knight of Magistral Grace
  • 2000 - Present
  • State Bar of California
  • Member
  • 1977 - Present
  • Phi Delta Phi International Legal Fraternity
  • Member
  • 1976 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • Russian
View all languages


  • Top Attorneys in Sacramento
  • Sacramento Magazine
  • 2015
  • BV Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2015
  • Peer Rating (4.4 out of 5)
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2014
  • Peer Review Rated 4.4
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2013
  • Peer Review Rated 4.4
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2012
  • Peer Review Rated 4.4
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2011
View all awards


  • Comparative Law Yearbook
  • Administrative Procedures\ in Eastern Europe/Contributing Editor
  • 1977

Speaking Engagements

  • Misc Breakfast Meetings and Real Estate Offices
  • Bankruptcy and Foreclosures
  • 2008
  • American River College
  • Bankruptcy Paralegal Classes
  • 1990

Attorney endorsements

Received (2)
Given (2)
Endorse Gary
Bankruptcy and debt Attorney | Jun 03
Relationship: Friend
"I have known Gary for some years now and you would be hard pressed to find a more ethical lawyer or a sharper human being. Probably the most astute and educated bankruptcy specialist in the area."
Bankruptcy and debt Attorney | May 04
Relationship: Worked for lawyer
"I worked for Mr. Zilaff as a young attorney. He taught me everything I need to know about Chapter 7 and the Bankruptcy Code. I still rely on his opinions and expertise regularly when I encounter unusual or novel issues in a particular case. He has a wealth of knowledge and has always been willing to share it with me."
Divorce and separation

Avvo Contributions

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Sacramento Bankruptcy and debt Lawyer Gary Francis Zilaff
Gary Francis Zilaff
Bankruptcy and debt Attorney
Sacramento, CA
Licensed for 45 years
Free Consultation