Hegwood Law - March 2019



HEGWOODLAW.COM • 281.218.0880

MARCH 2019


Faith Does!

W ith St. Patrick’s Day on the horizon, luck is at the forefront of many people’s minds. I used to believe in luck. In fact, we had an old saying in my family that went, “If we did not have bad luck, we would have no luck at all!” Over the years, though, I have stopped believing in the idea entirely. To me, luck does not exist when you have faith. Similar to a lot of other people’s experiences, my faith in God’s plan for my life grew out of a struggle. In the early 2000s, my grandparents’ health started rapidly declining, and I was the one responsible for making sure they were being taken care of. This meant that I was hiring caregivers and often doing a fair amount of the caregiving on my own as well. While seeing loved ones go through health issues is always emotionally painful, witnessing my grandparents’ rapid decline was particularly difficult because we were so close. In fact, they raised me until I was 6. Growing up, I remember that they had a longtime lawyer they called any time they needed advice. But when it came time to get their affairs in order, he only helped them with their will, which meant that my grandmother passed without designating a power of attorney.

Although I was freshly out of law school, I had to sit down and have a “come to Jesus” talk with my grandfather to help him be proactive. While he understandably had a hard time taking his granddaughter seriously as an attorney, he eventually listened and let me help him with all the necessary preparations. When he passed away nine months after my grandmother, I woke up the next day knowing that I needed to do something different with my life. I had spent the last decade in litigation, but I decided to completely change my area of focus to help people who were in the same predicament as my grandparents. I chucked out my litigation focus and began practicing elder law exclusively. I even took all 37 of my suits to Dress for Success so I could not go back to court! My experience as an elder law attorney has more than validated my drastic career change all those years ago. I laughingly tell people that I can now see their potential pitfalls because I have vicariously experienced them. I wake up every single morning feeling blessed that I have a practice I love that allows me to meet amazing people and help families in the best ways I know how. How many people can wholeheartedly say they love their job? I do not think many people have that luxury.

This entire experience made me realize that as you get older, you are faced with more complex decisions, and when you make a good decision and head down the right path, the good events that follow compound to reinforce that decision. That process is so much more about faith in God’s intentions than it is about luck. I would like to say that I am lucky I stumbled into my current role, but I know that God had this plan in mind all along. He has a plan for everything; it is my job to listen and try not to mess it up too much.

“To me, luck does not exist when you have faith.”

-Kim Hegwood



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AN INSIDE JOB The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags

Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans groups and locals were outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags, one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself. Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers. Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just cannot comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,” Wallace said.

the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.

Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract groundhogs, something other groundskeepers have experienced as well.

“I’m glad we do not have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor Bill Hallenbeck. "We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner.

Determined to find out who was to blame, police put up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched

Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.


Do You Have Your Documents Organized Properly?

Wills and Trusts By placing large portions of your assets in living trusts, you avoid probate, manage distributions to beneficiaries the way you want, and give them asset protection. In will based planning, you will name your executor and beneficiaries. Government Entitlement Programs Research government benefits, such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which can provide welcome additional income or services as you grow older. Medicare and Medicaid Many individuals confuse Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage if you are 65 or older or have a severe disability; you are entitled to Medicare no matter what your income. Medicaid, on the other hand, is a state and federal program that provides health coverage only if you have a very low income and few assets. Medicaid also pays for long-term care, and we can help if you need qualified for that. As you can see, there are many legal measures to be considered as you age. If you need assistance with any or all of them, the elder law attorneys at Hegwood Law Group are here to help! You can connect with us by going to HegwoodLaw.com or calling us at 281-645-0363.

March kicks off annual spring-cleaning. Whether you enjoy this type of cleaning or despise it, at least you can see it as an opportunity to get your life more organized. But before you start weeding all your garden beds or taking apart your garage, I urge you to consider your assets and estate. Do you have them organized properly? If not, this spring might be the perfect time to start the process of getting everything in order. Growing older is not something you have to initiate; it just happens. Planning for and coping with your later years is another matter, necessitating your active participation. As you prepare yourself for the process of “spring-cleaning” your documents, here are some ideas to keep in mind. Guardianships Guardianships are of the person and person and estate. They are necessary when someone does not have a valid statutory power of attorney and a medical power of attorney that can handle all of their needs.


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Donate With Care

The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebratewith another round of spring- cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well-meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:

These itemsmay be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring-cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can't take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out Call2Recycle.org to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.

• • • •

Expired medications

Old TVs


Loose remote controls

• Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup • Mattresses • Carpets • Tangled cords or phone chargers • Any broken, damaged, or dirty items

Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.



Ingredients • 3 cups (380 grams) all-purpose flour •

1 1/4 cups (247 grams) light brown sugar, lightly packed 2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

• •

2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

• • •

2 large eggs, at room temperature 2 cups (340 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar


1. Heat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

3. With an electric mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and eggs. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. 4. If time permits, wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. This allows the dough to “marinate” and makes the cookies thicker, chewier, and more flavorful. Let dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop. 5. Divide dough into 3-tablespoon balls using a large cookie scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets. 6. Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Basketball Bracket Final Four Gold Ides of

March Irish Leprechaun Lucky March

Madness Rainbow Shamrock St Patrick



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


950 Gemini Street | Suite 6 Houston, TX | 77058


1 Do You Believe in Luck? 2 The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags

A Different (but Important) Type of Spring-Cleaning!

3 Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning

Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 Hegwood Law Group’s Upcoming Events!


Workshop: ‘To Probate or Not to Probate’ March 20 This month, we will be hosting our “To Probate or Not to Probate: Everything You Need to Know About Probate in Texas” workshop. To get answers for all the questions you have about complex issues related to probate in our great Lone Star State, come check out this workshop. It is FREE and will take place at 6:30 p.m. in our office. Workshop: ‘10 Gruesome Estate Planning Mistakes’ March 26 Unlike many other practices, Hegwood Law Group focuses only on estate planning and related issues. Not only are our skills in this area finely tuned, but our attorneys are fully experienced in this aspect of the law. To help address any concerns you might have, we are hosting a FREE estate planning workshop titled “10 Gruesome Estate Planning Mistakes” at 6:30 p.m. in our office. Workshop: ‘How to Plan for Children With Disabilities’ April 17 Through our FREE workshop this month titled “How to Plan for Children With Disabilities,” we can help you find the assistance you need and show you how to ensure your child’s special needs will be met when you are gone or no longer able to serve as their primary caregiver. The workshop will take place at 6:30 p.m. in our office.

Workshop: ‘Everything You Need to Know About Asset Protection’ April 23 Planning for asset protection can be an uncomfortable process, but working with a compassionate, honest, and well- informed estate planning attorney can offer you peace of mind regarding the best ways to safeguard your assets. To get answers you need, check out our FREE workshop titled “Everything You Need to Know About Asset Protection.” The workshop will take place at 6:30 p.m. in our office.

Hegwood Law Group’s Third Annual Derby Day

April 30 We are excited to announce that Hegwood Law Group will be hosting our third annual Kentucky Derby Southern Special. After such an amazing turnout last year, we

cannot wait to see all of you decked out in the best hats and jackets you can find. Keep an eye out for information regarding registration!

To secure a spot for our workshops, RSVP at 281-218-0880 or email heather@hegwoodlaw.com.



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