Debra j. Vella, Esq.

Debra  Vella is a sole practitioner at Vella Law. Ms. Vella’s areas of  practice include estate planning, estate and trust administration,  charitable giving, charitable foundations and other tax exempt  organizations.


Ms.  Vella is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust  Law (California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization), and a past  chair of the Exempt Organizations Committee of the Taxation Section of  the California State Bar. Ms. Vella has been recognized as a “Super  Lawyer” in the area of estate planning and probate by Super Lawyers®  magazine, most recently in 2018.


Ms. Vella obtained her law degree from the University of California,  Los Angeles in 1996. Ms. Vella received her bachelor’s degree, summa cum  laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from San Diego State University in 1988, where  she was a National Merit Scholar. She next attended the University of  Michigan, Ann Arbor on a National Science Foundation fellowship, earning  her master’s degree in 1990 and her Ph.D. in 1993 in the field of  Developmental Psychology, with an emphasis on Gerontology. 


Ms.  Vella volunteers with several local charitable organizations, including  as a member of the Estates and Trusts Committee of San Diego Rady  Children’s Hospital Foundation, as Chair of the Helen Woodward Animal  Center Planned Giving Committee, and as a volunteer in the AniMeals  program at Helen Woodward, which provides food to the pets of homebound  individuals throughout San Diego County. Ms. Vella has previously served  as a member of the Board of Trustees of Rady Children’s Hospital  Foundation, as a member of the Board of Directors of Red Rover, and a  member of the Scripps Health Foundation Gift Planning Advisory Board. 


Prior  to establishing her own law firm, Ms. Vella was a partner at Henderson,  Caverly, Pum & Charney, LLP, from 2004 to 2016, and an associate  attorney with Cowley & Chidester LLP from 1999 to 2004 and with  O’Melveny & Myers LLP from 1996 to 1999.

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