Hegwood Law - August 2019



HEGWOODLAW.COM • 281.218.0880



Are You Ready for the School Year to Start?

B elieve it or not, we are almost ready for the first day of school again. Even though it seems like summer barely started, it is time for parents and grandparents to start helping their young ones get prepared for the upcoming academic year. While the vast majority of students dread the transition from summer vacation to the classroom, I always looked forward to entering a new grade every year. Because I am a natural left-brain thinker, math was always my strongest and favorite subject. Even now, I can remember numerical information about people long before I can memorize their names — not for lack of effort, of course; it is just how my brain organizes information.

area I enjoyed. I ended up graduating with a degree in computer programming and systems analysis. Along with my degree, I also graduated with three kids. Because my youngest daughter was 2 months old at the time, I decided to postpone law school until she was older, so, in the meantime, I earned my second degree in legal studies. While I have been out of school for a while now, I have come to realize that people never stop learning. To that end, one of the most important lessons I learned when my own kids headed off to college was just how necessary it is to establish their power of attorney before their first day of school. As parents, we take all precautionary measures to ensure our young adults stay protected when they venture out of our homes and into continuing education, and, while completing a legal document may seem like a strange way to protect them, it is the only way you have access to vital school information while they are away. Here is what happened to me. At the time my daughter headed off to University of Texas, I was litigating, so I was not paying close attention to our estate plan. I realized I needed some information about my daughter's tuition and housing costs, so I called the Office of the Registrar and gave the school employee my daughter’s information. The lady on the phone politely informed me I would have to ask my daughter, and the university cannot give out information about

individual students, even to their parents.

This does not just happen in Texas, either. It is a nationwide law. Mind you, I was very frustrated. Here I was, sending checks to pay for my daughter’s education, and her school refused to tell me anything about her account there. I realized quickly that in order to have access to the account information I needed, my daughter had to legally establish me as her power of attorney. Doing so is helpful for many other reasons, too. For example, if your child experiences trouble with a rental agreement, or a credit card, or gets injured or falls ill, as your child’s power of attorney, you can legally help and protect them. So, as you start buying furniture, books, and cooking supplies to prepare your kid for college, do not forget to add this small legal task to your checklist. Then give our office a call, so we can walk you through the process as quickly as possible!

"Here I was, sending checks to pay for my daughter’s education, and her school refused to tell me anything about her account there."

My passion for school (and life’s timing) actually led to two bachelor’s degrees. While I always knew I wanted to go to law school, I had to earn a four-year college degree before heading there. My mom suggested I pursue a subject that interested me rather than a strictly law-related one. That way, if I decided later that I didn't want to go to law school, I would still have a degree in an

-Kim Hegwood



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THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE WRONG TIME A Look at Some Interesting Personal Injury Cases

There is no shortage of crazy cases that come through a court of law, but those revolving around personal injury can be especially surprising. Whether it’s a slip-and-fall accident or something a little more eccentric, there are a million ways to hurt yourself while simply going about your day. The problems arise when it’s determined to be another party’s fault. Let’s take a look at some notably strange cases where bizarre miscalculations led to injuries and ailments. Time spent in the restroom is inherently private. We don’t normally talk about it, but that’s not the case for a Pennsylvania woman who experienced a traumatic event during a routine trip to the lady’s room. In 2007, a schlocky horror plot came to life in a building along Philadelphia’s famous Market Street. The culprit was a faulty plumbing system. The woman was inside a restroom stall on the eighth floor, and, as she sat on one of the old toilets customary in the building, pressure building from inside the tank caused a massive explosion that sent her body hurling out of the stall. You don’t need to know the details of her injuries to understand the extent of her grievances. Some forms of suffering are better left to the imagination, especially if the aggressor was a literal stink bomb. She sued the As Below, so Above

building’s landlords for anxiety, pain, and medical expenses, but it’s hard to determine which party was truly at fault without more information.

It’s Raining Cats and Dollars

You can’t predict the weather, no matter what your weather app says, but some people tend to forget that. A few years ago, an Israeli weatherman was faced with a lawsuit by a woman who claimed his inaccurate forecast caused her a great deal of suffering. She claimed he misrepresented a particularly harsh day in the forecast, and it encouraged her to wear insufficient layers that left her health to the whim of the elements. As a result, the woman caught the flu from the downpour and missed work for four days. Citing lost income, large medication costs, and tremendous anxiety, she sought reparations from the fraudulent weatherman and was amazingly awarded a four-figure settlement!


Trust Us!

Just as taking proper action to designate your child’s power of attorney is of the utmost importance before he or she heads off to college this fall, understanding the value of a trust can be equally beneficial. Trusts are important tools in estate planning. Depending on the type of trust established, it can serve many purposes: decreasing tax liabilities, protecting accumulated funds from creditors, and protecting privacy, since trusts, unlike wills, are not public documents. If you have only ever considered using a will to allocate your assets, then you would benefit from learning about the two main types of trusts — revocable and irrevocable. What Is a Revocable Trust? Also known as living trusts, revocable trusts can be altered or revoked throughout your lifetime. The price of this flexibility is that the revocable trust remains part of your estate and can therefore be taxed. Even so, when you die, the revocable trust will become irrevocable and the property held in the trust will be passed on to your beneficiaries.

Two major advantages of revocable trusts are that they avoid probate, and they preserve your financial privacy since, unlike wills, they are not public documents. At the time of your death, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable. What Is an Irrevocable Trust? Unlike its counterpart, irrevocable trusts cannot be changed or revoked once they have been created. Examples of irrevocable trusts are trusts for minors, insurance trusts, and charitable trusts. Though they are permanent and don’t give you the flexibility of revocable trusts, they are advantageous in terms of taxation. While revocable and irrevocable trusts are two of the most commonly used ones in all of elder law, there are other trusts to consider. You could, for example, use a special needs trust, which was originally created to protect individuals who are disabled in a way that prevents them from consistently managing their own finances. You could also explore the possibility of a spendthrift trust if you are concerned about protecting irresponsible beneficiaries from their own potential bad choices. Due to the immense variety of trusts — and the complexities associated with each — it is essential to have a skilled trust attorney working with you as you plan your estate. Call 281-218-0880 to get in touch with one of our knowledgeable team members!


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Staying ‘Cool’ With Your Canine

Enjoy the Weather While Keeping Your Pup Comfortable

With all this late-summer sunshine, it’s the perfect time to take your dog out for some fun. And while spending time basking in nature’s beauty can be a great source of fun and exercise for you and your pets, it’s important to keep a careful watch on your dog’s core temperature to prevent heat exhaustion. There are several detectable signs of heat exhaustion that you can watch for, including abnormal lethargy, vomiting, or a brightly colored blue or red tongue. Here are some tips to keep your canine cool this summer. Water in All Its Forms While certain dog breeds thrive in hotter climates, all pups need a little extra care when it comes to staying hydrated during the summer. For starters, always make sure they have ready access to drinkable water. If you are going on an adventure, consider bringing a collapsible water bowl. If you are doing some backyard chilling, consider filling up a small wading pool with water for your pooch to splash or lounge in. Some Invaluable Inventions There are many contraptions to help you keep your canine cool in the summer heat. Booties to insulate their toes and protect their paw pads from the hot asphalt, cooling vests that reflect sunlight off darker fur, and pressure-activated cooling pads are just a few of the gizmos you can purchase to stave off those scorching temps. The Dog People, a website powered by Rover.com,

also recommends making frozen “pupsicles,” a yogurt-based frozen treat that can satisfy doggy cravings while keeping them cool. Time Is of the Essence While fun water toys and helpful cooling inventions are great, the best thing you can do to keep your dog cool is be careful about when you decide to go outside. Taking your pup out in the early morning or later in the evening, when the sun isn’t at its highest point in the sky, will help keep them cooler in the long run. Additionally, keep in mind that some breeds deal with the heat better than others. If you’re unsure, do a little research to determine your dog’s susceptibility to heat exhaustion. Just because the heat is sizzling doesn’t mean your dog should be! Keep these tips in mind before taking your canine out in the summer sun. They will thank you for it!

EASY CHOCOLATE FROSTING This chocolate frosting is the BEST frosting for cakes, especially birthday cupcakes! It's simple to whip up and so creamy! Frosts one 8- or 9-inch round layered cake or 24 cupcakes.



• 1 cup butter, softened

• 5 cups powdered sugar

• 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

• 3-4 tbsp milk

• 1 tsp vanilla




1. In a large bowl, whip butter and cocoa together until smooth. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar.


2. Slowly stream in milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.

3. Scrape sides and whip again until light, fluffy, and smooth, 1–2 minutes.



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


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


1 The Best (but Least Known) Way to Prepare Your Child for College 2 Bizarre Personal Injury Cases

What Are the Different Kinds of Trusts?

3 Staying ‘Cool’ With Your Canine This Summer

Easy Chocolate Frosting

4 From Us to You!


Workshop: ‘10 Gruesome Estate Planning Mistakes’ When: Sept. 12; 6:30 p.m. Where: Hegwood Law Group offices; Free admission

Here at Hegwood Law Group, meeting new clients and forging long- lasting relationships with them are the best and most rewarding parts of our job. While sometimes clients walk through our doors under unfortunate circumstances, we always aim to do our best to reassure them they made the right decision to trust us. During our conversations with several recent clients, we’ve learned that they were referred to our firm my family, friends, or professional acquaintances. As a small local business, Hegwood Law Group wants you all to know how truly grateful we are that you not only trust us with your own estate planning preparations but also that you trust us enough to send people our way. We can’t begin to explain how much that means to us, but we thought that saying “thank you” would be a good start! If you want more information about Hegwood Law Group or know someone who might be interested in our services, come on down to our next workshop and meet the team!

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.



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