Hegwood Law - June 2020



HEGWOODLAW.COM • 281.218.0880

JUNE 2020

A TRIBUTE TO FATHERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS Featuring Dr. Fred DiOrio’s Incredible Life Story

No parents have it easy, especially during a pandemic. So this month, we would like to make a tribute to our nation’s fathers and first responders during our COVID-19 health crisis by sharing the story of one particularly incredible dad: Dr. Fred DiOrio, a New Jersey dentist and volunteer emergency medical technician. “My family asks me why I have to do it,” says DiOrio. “They say I am not 23 years old even though I think I am. I tell them I do it because I can.” Although his day job as a dental director for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey takes up most of his time, he still volunteers as a first responder. Why choose to be one of the most vulnerable to such a dangerous virus? DiOrio says that he had planned on becoming a firefighter because his father was a firefighter, but after he took his service exam for the position at age 18, his father would not have it. He told DiOrio that he could “do more,” and in response, he found himself in dentistry. However, that did not make DiOrio give up his passion for helping others in dire times of need. After he got his doctor of dental medicine degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, DiOrio was commissioned as a captain in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in North Carolina for three years, then he enlisted in the Army Reserves for 25 years while he worked at his own dental practice back in New Jersey. As a reservist, he served one weekend every month and was deployed once a year (or more). DiOrio says his deployments were life-changing. He set up makeshift clinics in small villages in Honduras and Guatemala. Some people would walk 25 miles just to receive dental and medical care. Eventually, he retired from the Reserves as a lieutenant colonel in 2013. Even then, DiOrio kept looking for ways to help others. He became a certified EMT, joined the Manasquan First Aid Squad, and

closed his private dental practice to become a dental director. Accomp l i shed in his career and a true patriot, DiOrio has not cut himself a break

just yet, and his wife worries about that. “My wife is not a fan of my endeavors because she worries about my safety,” DiOrio admits. “However, she has learned to accept my passion. It is passion, compassion, and drive that make a difference in the lives of people we touch. I feel lucky to be able to make a difference. As my dad would often say, ‘The harder you work, the luckier you become.’” I have to agree with DiOrio’s wisdom. Some of the most important lessons we learn are from the fathers in our lives. While I did not grow up with a father, I did grow up with my grandfather, and I feel lucky every day that he was such a sweet-hearted man. Everybody knew he was incredibly kind and generous. Papa and Nonnie helped all of the kids and grandkids during their lifetimes. This is just who my grandfather was: quiet but generous and a good listener, no matter what. I am definitely a better grandmother because of his lessons and inspiration. Thank you to Fred DiOrio, his family, and all of the other fathers for all of their passion and sacrifice. And thank you, Papa, for being the best grandpa a girl could ask for.

Happy Father’s Day!

-Kim Hegwood



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Over the past several months, families, businesses, and nonprofits have had to navigate life in this challenging “new normal,” and it can be hard to support your favorite nonprofits when times are tough. Here are a few ways you can help these important entities, even when you do not have resources to spare right now. Donate While many people donate generously during the holiday season, remember that nonprofits need donations throughout the year, and different nonprofits need different things. A monetary donation can often go a long way, but never feel obligated to give money, especially when your budget may be tight. Instead, consider cleaning out your closet. What clothes, shoes, or other accessories can you part with? What about dishware or small appliances? When you clean out your home and donate unused items, you benefit those in the community who need them most. Volunteer In a time of social distancing, volunteering may be discouraged, but nonprofits still need volunteers to operate. The good news is that many nonprofits need volunteers for positions that maintain

social distance, such as driving. Food banks and kitchens need drivers to pick up donations or ingredients from donors and to deliver food to people in need, such as the elderly or those with disabilities. Advocate Even if you do not have time or resources to give, you can become an advocate for important causes around your

community. While it might not seem like much, sharing information about local nonprofits on social media can make a genuine difference. Nonprofits need exposure, which is greatly boosted through community support. Sharing useful information about nonprofits — or sharing their posts — increases their visibility so more people will take action.


Estate planning can be a difficult, sometimes overwhelming process. No one likes to think about their own death. However, if you do not take the time to create an estate plan today, your family could very well shoulder that burden later on. Here are a few celebrity stories that highlight what happens when estate planning is not taken seriously. Aretha Franklin: Get It in Writing When Aretha Franklin passed away in 2018, it was widely reported that the Queen of Soul had never created an estate plan. After her death, it was assumed that Franklin would have wanted her multimillion-dollar estate to be passed to her four sons. However, three handwritten documents found in Franklin’s home last year brought this into question. The most recent document, dated 2014, divided her real estate and the income from her music royalties between her three youngest sons and named her youngest as the estate administrator.

Whether these handwritten documents count as a will is debatable. The uncertainty could lead to a legal battle between Franklin’s sons, jeopardizing the family’s ability to control Franklin’s legacy. Franklin was an incredible musical genius and a savvy businesswoman, but this trouble highlights the importance of sitting down with an attorney to draft a formal estate plan. Heath Ledger: Update Everything Australian actor Heath Ledger wisely had a will drafted in 2003. The will left half of his estate to his three sisters and the rest to his parents after any debts had been paid. However, Ledger made a very common estate planning mistake: He never updated his will. When Ledger passed away suddenly in 2008, his old will did not include his then-2-year-old daughter, Matilda. Ledger’s family knew the actor would have wanted his daughter taken care of and agreed to make sure Matilda inherited all of her father’s $20 million estate. This is an unexpectedly positive ending to a tragic story. In most cases, outdated wills lead to bitter family battles. Take care to update your estate plan every five years or after every major life event, like a birth, death, or marriage. Most of us are not famous singers or actors, but anyone can make these estate planning mistakes. Give us a call at 281-218-0880 to learn how to make sure your wishes are honored.


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LIVING MUSEUMS Our Nation’s Botanical Gardens

In 1842, the Wilkes Expedition returned from its trek across the Pacific Ocean on behalf of the United States government, having visited parts of Portugal, Brazil, Antarctica, and Fiji. Among the specimens the explorers brought back from their travels were collections of plants gathered from around the world — just what the young nation needed to start its very first botanical garden. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams had a shared dream of creating a national botanical garden, but the idea did not really get off the ground until the Wilkes Expedition brought back the garden’s first plants. The United States Botanic Garden (USBG) was established in Washington, D.C., and four of the plants on display there today are part of the original collection brought back from the expedition. Since it is not always possible to go on vacation and visit far-off gardens, many botanical gardens around the world have started bringing the flora right to you with virtual tours. In addition to the USBG, which

offers virtual tours at USBG.gov/take-virtual- tour, check out these other gardens that allow you to explore without having to leave your home. Chicago Botanic Garden In the spring, the Chicago Botanic Garden staff invited virtual visitors to join them for a nature moment. Garden staff shared images from around the 17 gardens kept there. The Chicago Botanic Garden continues to wow with virtual tours that, thanks to Google’s technology, make you feel as if you are really there. Start your tour at ChicagoBotanic.org. Waddesdon Manor and Gardens This historic site across the pond in England gives visitors detailed virtual views of the Waddesdon Manor and its stunning gardens. Each day at Waddesdon Gardens, the staff designates a specific area as a “Silent Space,” where visitors can go to disconnect and find peace. The Gardens also created a special message for their virtual visitors that we can all take to heart: “We encourage you to find

a space in your garden or in your home that feels peaceful and designate a time each day to enjoy a quiet moment of reflection.” To see this historic site for yourself, visit Waddesdon.org.uk.




• 1/2 cup granulated sugar • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder • 2 tbsp cornstarch • 1/2 tsp kosher salt • 2 1/2 cups milk • 3 large egg yolks • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped • 2 tbsp butter • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

• Whipped

cream, for serving • Chocolate shavings, for serving


1. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly pour in milk, whisking to combine. Place saucepan over medium heat and whisk until mixture comes to a boil, about 6 minutes. 2. Place egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl and beat until light and frothy. Slowly pour in about 1/2 cup of the cocoa mixture, whisking to combine. Slowly pour egg mixture back into sauce pan, whisking constantly. 3. Return to medium heat, whisking, until thickened to a pudding-like consistency, about 3 minutes. 4. Take off heat and whisk in chocolate, butter, and vanilla until smooth. If mixture looks lumpy at all, strain it through a fine mesh strainer. 5. Pour into a large bowl and place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding. Refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours. 6. When ready to serve, spoon into individual bowls or ramekins and top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.





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HEGWOOD LAWGROUP Trusts | Estates | Probate | Elder Law | Family


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1 A Tribute to Fathers and First Responders 2 Help Local Nonprofits in Challenging Times Aretha Franklin’s Estate Planning Mistake 3 Botanical Gardens in the US Chocolate Pudding 4 The Good News in Houston!

THE GOOD NEWS IN HOUSTON! Favorite Local Heroes in Health and Sports

Instead of our usual local events, I thought we would highlight some of our favorite good news in Houston lately. While we cannot go out to enjoy our communities in churches and concerts like before, we can certainly celebrate our neighbors by sharing their incredible stories. This month, one neighborhood went the extra mile to do just that. Neighborhood Rally for a Local Nurse While leaving for work at 6 a.m. one morning, Sherry Chavez, an RN at Houston Methodist ER Care Center, saw about 30 of her neighbors all in the streets — 10 feet apart and wearing masks, of course. These neighbors in her Garden Oaks neighborhood on that cold Friday morning were waving signs and pompoms while making noise with cowbells and loud cheering. “I just thought everybody was out walking, but then they started cheering, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, they did this for me!’” Chavez shared with ABC 13. While her care center has seen a wide age range of COVID-19 patients and strange nonrespiratory symptoms, Chavez says the community has responded quickly with donations of personal protective equipment.

For us, it is most heartwarming to see her neighbors support her in the same way she supports her patients through this pandemic.

Houston Angler MeredithMcCord Possibly Breaks Her 189thWorld Record

One of the most beloved fly-fishers of our time, Meredith McCord, broke her 100th IGFA-approved world record back on Father’s Day in 2016. But that did not stop Meredith from pushing herself even harder. Because of the separation between female and male records, she wanted to achieve numbers big enough to prove herself in the field at large. On March 30, she hooked a 10-pound 4-ounce largemouth (black) bass, which, while awaiting confirmation from the IGFA, would make her 189th world record. “People fish a lifetime for a 10-pound bass,” McCord told Chron. “It’s a trophy bass my dad would be proud of. I know he is in heaven saying, ‘Attagirl.’”

Those are our favorite good news stories of the week. What is yours? Feel free to share with us the next time you catch up with us!



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