My name is Gratia P. Schoemakers. I’m an attorney, and more importantly, a mother.
If you’re reading this page I’ll assume you’re curious to see if I’m the right person to guide you through this process, and I commend you for that. I would do the same. In fact, choosing the right attorney is the first step – and perhaps even the most important step – toward putting the right estate plan in place. So with that in mind, let me tell you a little about my firm and myself:
GP SCHOEMAKERS, PLLC is a boutique law firm focusing on Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts of all degrees of complexity, Probate, Estate, Trust Administration & Business Entity Formation. My firm is also available to assist with Uncontested Divorces and Mediation. Our main office is based in League City, Texas, our mission is to provide quality service all our clients. We take pride in our experience, integrity, and dedication. We are accessible, responsive, cost effective and trusted within the legal community and among our clients. Guided by compassion, empathy, and reason, we balance those values with strong ethics, wisdom and diligence. When you visit or call our office, we want you to feel comfortable discussing the important issues concerning both you and your family. We want to arm you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your family’s future. Visit our website to obtain quality information on estate planning and related issues.
More about myself: I am originally from The Netherlands where I received my Doctorate in Dutch & European law as well as a Masters (LL.M.) in International law from Maastricht University Faculty of Law, an international-renowned University located in Maastricht, The Netherlands. Thereafter I began my career working as a Small Business Advisor and as a Solicitor to medical professionals and non-profit organizations before I came to the USA. Once here, I obtained my second Juris Doctorate from the prestigious and world-renowned Washington University, School of Law in St. Louis Missouri, as well as my two specializing LL.M’s, one in Intellectual Property and Technologies Law, and the other with an emphasis on Business and Contract Law. Since then, I have worked as a Legal Consultant to non-profit organizations, big-oil and as an associate attorney for family law, litigation, immigration and general practice law firms.
These days I work as a Texas licensed attorney, I’m a member of the Texas Bar, their Business Law Section and Real Estate, and Probate and Trust Section, as well as the College of the State Bar of Texas, which is an honor that is bestowed on less than 10% of lawyers in the state of Texas. This honorary society is devoted to pursuing the greatest amount of legal knowledge through actively furthering their education. It’s my desire is to better represent my clients with a deeper understanding of the law. I’m also a member of Wealth Counsel, a nationwide collaborative of estate planning attorneys and other wealth planning professionals who utilize cutting edge techniques to provide sophisticated planning for the individuals and families they serve. Additionally, I also hold the designations of Personal Family Lawyer®, Family Business Lawyer™ and a Creative Business Lawyer® which were awarded by the Family Wealth Planning Institute for demonstrating my commitment to providing the very best services to families and business owners.
Estate planning from a Parent’s Perspective
If you are a parent this would probably not surprise you, but my son means everything to me, and protecting him and taking care of him is the most important part in my life. His joy and innocence made me realize the importance of family and my duty towards him. It was in this that I realized that the “boilerplate” estate plan, which I had set up years before having my son, was woefully inadequate. It was originally set up because I was getting married, but it never was updated, not even after I had my son, nor after my Divorce. Partly because the lawyer who drafted it never kept in touch, and it wasn’t something that was at the top of my mind at the time, and because he probably would have charged me an arm and a leg to update something he hadn’t personalized for me in the first place!
I realized quickly that as a mom, I could not afford this big of a gap in my family’s protection. I was supposed to be providing for my child, and ignoring it (for whatever reason) meant I was not doing the kind of job that I expected of myself. Now I don’t expect myself to be a perfect parent. I fail at perfection every day. But when I discover a way to improve as a mother and become a more responsible parent, I put in the effort. Because pushing myself to be a better today than I was yesterday is important to me, and my son deserves it.
Estate planning was an area I had studied during law school (both abroad and in the US), but it was also something I lost focus off due to my focus on the business world. I knew enough to know I wasn’t protected, but not enough to make it better, so I set out to re-educated myself about the subject, once I gained competency I redid my estate plan. I made sure that my son would be taken care of in the way I wanted him to be, both short and long term. And having this plan in place feels incredible, I know how he will be taken care of, in detail, and every way that is important to me. Because of this, I know how to make sure how to help you plan for you children.
Why I Believe In What I Do
I know most parents are just like me. Their kids are the most important things in the world to them. They work tirelessly to protect their kids, provide for them, and raise them right. But they may not have really thought in detail about what would happen after they die. They may not really know how to plan for that eventuality and ensure their kids are just as protected as when they were alive.
I knew I could help those parents take better care of their children. And I knew that would be fulfilling, important work, and I would be making a real difference in the lives of parents and children … of families, just like mine. So I began to reinvent my law firm to an estate planning practice, and with this I implemented a whole new way of being an attorney.
One of the first things I did was to completely get rid of the old attorney standard hourly billing. While I was working for the small litigation boutique, clients would often have simple questions, but wouldn’t call me because they didn’t want to get a bill for the time they spent on the phone with me. Hourly billing was getting in the way of building full and complete relationships with my clients and inhibiting the level of service I was able to provide to them.
Consequently, I have implemented an up-front, flat fee structure. There are no more surprise fees or unexpected bills.
And unlike the lawyer who drew up my initial estate plan, I don’t want to just prepare a set of documents for my clients and then send them on their way without any real guidance, follow-up, or an ongoing relationship. I don’t believe legal documents should be the end result of, but rather they should be a byproduct of, the attorney-client relationship.
And because I value long-term relationships with my clients, I like to have regular contact with them and they don’t have to worry about paying extra for it. That enables us to continue building a strong relationship – a real relationship based on trust and friendship – throughout both of our lives.
Along with all that, I also think it’s important to provide reviews for my clients’ estate plans so they don’t have to worry about whether their plans will continue to work even as their own life situation changes. For this reason, I offer annual Family Wealth Service plans which allow clients to update their plan annually. I also offer a complementary plan review on the third anniversary of all my clients’ estate plans, I do that without an additional charge because it’s the right thing to do and it’s all part of the lifetime relationship we’re building together.
So what I’m really all about is helping you make the very best legal decisions during your lifetime, and making sure someone – the right someone – is there for your family after you’re gone.
If that sounds like the kind of relationship and level of service you’d like from your attorney, we should talk.
I look forward to knowing you and caring for your family soon!
Gratia P. Schoemakers, Esq.
PS -If you have questions about anything at all, please don’t hesitate to ask.
GP Schoemakers, PLLC focus their practice on Estate Planning, Wills and Trusts of all degrees of complexity, Probate, Estate, Trust Administration & Business Entity Formation. They are also available to assist with Uncontested Divorces and Mediation. They serve clients throughout the greater Houston area, including, but not limited to League City, Webster, Clear Lake, Alvin, Dickinson, Pearland, Angleton, Houston, Bellaire, West University, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Richmond, Rosenberg, Katy, Cypress, The Woodlands, Kingwood and throughout Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County and Galveston County.