Hegwood Law - October 2019



HEGWOODLAW.COM • 281.218.0880


HAVING CONSTANT STRESS IS NOWAY TO LIVE How Can You Maintain Emotional Wellness?

O ctober is chock-full of holidays and events. Alongside the more well- known ones like Halloween and Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we have the obscure and strange National Moldy Cheese Day (Oct. 9) and National Boston Cream Pie Day (Oct. 23). While a quick Google search will unearth hundreds of other silly holidays like these, another more significant observance this month stands out above the rest: National Emotional Wellness Month. People rarely pay attention to their emotional wellness. When they consider their own health, they might chastise themselves for not making it to the gym last week or forgetting to reschedule a missed doctor appointment. But considering your stress levels and ensuring you are taking time for self-care is just as important. Our physical, mental, and emotional states all are interconnected, and setting aside time to reduce the stress in your life betters your health all around. "With a busy work and family life, I just figured feeling stressed all the time was normal." For the vast majority of my life, I’ve prided myself on being an expert multitasker. With a busy work and family life, I just figured feeling stressed all the time was normal. I’d guess many people feel that way. In fact,

some of us might even assume if we aren’t feeling stressed, something must be wrong. But recently, I decided it was time to make a change. With the firm growing, I had more clients to meet and more employees to manage, which are both wonderful, but they added stress. Then I recently heard the tragic news that some of my high school acquaintances passed, all several years younger than me. When someone younger than you dies, it’s hard not to think about your own mortality. I decided I needed to start taking better care of myself all-around. Afterall, I want to watch all my grandkids graduate from school, get married, and have kids of their own. I thought, “If I’m going to do that, I need to start focusing on my own mental and physical health now.” In my quest, I’ve found some amazing health-focused technology to help us pay more attention to our own bodies. For example, I recently purchased the new Apple Watch 4, which connects to my phone and can track my steps and monitor my heart rate and blood pressure. It also has a breathing app, which prompts me to slow down and count my breaths periodically throughout the day. I’m also focusing on eating healthier and trying different types of food. When I had more time, I used to cook more, and I really

miss it. While I often get home too late to start dinner, I’ve made a point to look for more nutritious options. I’m also allowing myself some time to get out of my head and relax a little bit. I schedule facials and nail appointments when I can, and I spend time reading as many trashy romance novels as my workdays allow. It’s the only way I can shut my busy brain off to maintain my emotional wellness and reduce stress. Even though I’ve been able to make these positive changes, I know a group of people who never feel like they can take time for themselves: caregivers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with caregivers (some in my own family) who run themselves ragged and allow their emotional, mental, and physical health to fall to the wayside because they feel too guilty to take time off. To them and to others out there who aren’t making their own health a priority, I encourage you to find ways to do so. You can start by stealing some of my ideas! Anything is better than nothing.

-Kim Hegwood



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We’ve all played a harmless trick or two, but sometimes, Halloween shenanigans get out of hand. They can lead to hurt feelings, outraged neighbors, and, in the case of Purtell v. Mason, a lawsuit. In the days leading up to Halloween, all was not quiet in the village of Bloomingdale. Previously parked in a storage unit, Jeff and Vicki Purtell’s 38-foot RV was now parked in front of their house. In protest, neighbors petitioned to town officials, wanting an ordinance put in place to prohibit RV parking on residential property. While the ordinance was under consideration, Jeff Purtell took matters into his own hands. He erected six wooden tombstones in his front yard. They seemed to be innocuous Halloween decorations, but these tombstones displayed a special message for the neighbors. Each headstone was inscribed with a sarcastic message and house number, implying the occupants’ death dates. These messages soon caught the neighbors’ attention. “Bette wasn't ready, but here she lies, ever since that night she died. Twelve feet deep in this trench, still wasn't deep enough for that stench! 1690.”

Insulted and a little afraid, Purtell’s neighbors called the police to have the headstones removed. After a couple of visits, Officer Bruce Mason arrived and threatened to arrest Purtell if he didn’t take the tombstones down. Purtell obliged, but the matter wasn’t put to rest. The Verdict Purtell sued Officer Mason on the grounds of violating his rights to free speech, and the case made it all the way to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Sykes ruled that the tombstones did not constitute fighting words and were protected under the First Amendment. However, she also ruled that Officer Mason was entitled to qualified immunity, as any reasonable officer would act the same under the circumstances. The bigger question might be how this case made it all the way to the U.S. Court of Appeals. As Judge Sykes wrote in her opinion, “Lawsuits like this one cast the legal profession in a bad light and contribute to the impression that Americans are an overlawyered and excessively litigious people.”


Our Team Can Help You Breathe a Little Easier This Month With Halloween coming up at the end of the month, the subject of fear can plague many people. Between your kids or grandkids begging you to take them to a darkly lit haunted house and trick-or-treaters standing on your front porch donning scary costumes, you’re bound to feel a little spooked this month. While the fear associated with Halloween tends to dissipate once November rolls around, one of life’s biggest fears — ensuring that your family is taken care of — can assuredly cause you stress if you don’t take the right steps to protect your assets and ensure the wishes for your estate are honored. That’s what our team here at Hegwood Law Group aims to do! We meet with clients, listen to and understand their individual situations, and then help them come up with a suitable plan, all while simultaneously building friendly and long-lasting professional relationships. Check out what this client had to say about our team!

“Hegwood Law Group is filled with a wonderfully competent team. Kim prepared all of our family’s estate planning

requests, including our trusts, powers of attorney, guardian docs, wills, and medical directive or end-of-life documents. She made us feel like we are part of the family, and, every time we go into the office, Kim makes our entire family feel right at home. What’s more is that all the office staff members are friendly and go above and beyond to meet our requests and help us out. This is THE office for any estate planning, probate, Medicaid, family, and guardianship needs.” If you’re hoping to reduce some of your stress or fear regarding estate planning, don’t wait any longer to give our office a call, and let Kim and her team help you in the exact same way they helped this client! Even if you’ve already paid our office a visit, do your friends and family members a friendly favor by referring them to our team. Help your loved ones get in touch with Kim and the rest of our team by passing along our number: 281-218-0880. Thank you for your time and your help! Happy Halloween!


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Just in Time for Halloween

Jack-o’-lanterns go hand-in-hand with Halloween, but digging through the inside of a pumpkin is not something everyone enjoys. If you aren’t keen on cutting open a pumpkin, here are a few no-carve ideas you can try this Halloween! Haunted House Take a few pumpkins, stack them on top of each other, and create a spooky pumpkin haunted house! Then, use paint, balsa wood sheets, and hot glue to create silhouettes, ghosts, windows, and doors for a haunting effect! Creative With String Use cotton twine and hot glue to create a web-like design on the surface of your pumpkin. Don’t forget to add a few plastic spiders! You can also use string art to create ghostly words or images. Lay our your design with small pegs or nails and wrap the string around them to reach your desired effect. Nothing but Net You can create eerie pumpkins using fishnet stockings. Spray-paint your pumpkin if desired — just make sure the design of the stockings will stand out. Once the paint is dry, cut the legs off the stockings, slide the pumpkin inside, remove the extra fabric around the stem, and use hot glue to secure it.

Colorful Paint Painting your Halloween pumpkins gives everyone a chance to participate. Be creative by using different designs, cutouts for silhouettes, drip paint to create a marble design, or nail polish and water to give white pumpkins a unique and vibrant look. A Spooky Monster By adding a witch hat, wrapping a pumpkin in cheesecloth, attaching spider legs, or tying on a vampire cape, you can create a pumpkin version of the most popular Halloween monsters. Along with these accessories, you can also use paint, construction paper, and other craft materials to add the details that will make your creation pop!

For more detailed directions for these pumpkin designs and more ideas, visit WomansDay.com.

CHOCOLATE- DIPPED FRUIT This super easy and fun way to create homemade treats provides your kids with a healthier andmore delicious alternative to packaged industrial candy. As a bonus, making it is an awesome Halloween activity for your family to enjoy.



• 1 package melting chocolate • Assorted dried fruit, including apricots and mangoes




1. In a large saucepan, bring 1 inch of water to a boil. 2. Place a large, heatproof mixing bowl on top of saucepan so that no steam can escape. Place melting chocolate in mixing bowl and double boil until melted. 3. Dip half of each piece of fruit in chocolate before transferring to a parchment-lined baking sheet to rest. 4. Let cool for 10 minutes until chocolate solidifies. 5. Place in school lunches, serve at parties, and indulge in a few for yourself.




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


950 Gemini Street, Suite 6 | Houston, TX | 77058


1 Steps Kim Has Taken to Reduce Stress 2 Grave Matters of the Law

What Are You Afraid Of?

3 Avoid Getting Your Hands Dirty This Halloween

Chocolate-Dipped Fruit

4 Check Out Our Two Free Workshops!


THE PARTS OF LIFE YOU CAN PLAN FOR! Trying to adequately plan for all life’s curveballs can be one of the most difficult tasks because you simply can’t plan for everything. A major part of being human is navigating the unexpected, and the vast majority of us have managed it well over the years. Still, no matter how great you are at the ad hoc lifestyle, some things are accomplished only through proper planning. This is why the team here at Hegwood Law Group hosts monthly workshops. We want to help our clients be as prepared as they can be when it comes to protecting their estate and taking care of their families!

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: ‘10 Gruesome Estate Planning Mistakes’ When: Oct. 22; 6:30 p.m. Where: Hegwood Law Group offices Free admission

Check out our new informative workshops taking place this month!

Workshop: ‘How to Plan for Children With Disabilities’ When: Oct. 9; 6:30 p.m. Where: Hegwood Law Group offices Free admission

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.

Through our FREE workshop this month titled “How to Plan for Children With Disabilities,” we can help you find the assistance you



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