Bezaire, Ledwitz & Associates, APC | Samuel B. Ledwitz & Devona E. Chiles
21515 Hawthorne Boulevard, Suite 585 | Torrance | 310-316-2400 | SmartEstatePlans.com
FEATURED CHARITY | Unity of Life Foundation, Inc. | 562-225-0566 | unityoflife.org
The Law Firm of Bezaire, Ledwitz & Associates, APC assists clients in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, probate and estate litigation. Owner Samuel B. Ledwitz started the firm in 2007, the same year paralegal Devona E. Chiles founded Unity of Life, an organization that works to prevent and eliminate homelessness through family preservation and unification of communities. Ledwitz is a board member of Unity of Life, and his law firm donates to the charity’s Community Cares Program, which provides utility assistance and toiletry care packages to low/moderate income individuals and families in need. The program is supported solely by the generous donations of individuals and companies in the community.
Fast Fact: Samuel has worked in law for 18 years and started his own firm nine years ago.
Do you host events to help the public learn about important topics?
“Yes, we hold seminars on a regular basis to help individuals and families with their estate planning needs. These seminars are always free of charge and cover a number topics associated with estate planning and the current legal landscape.”
What’s one simple way a local business can reach out and make a difference?
“Get involved with a nonprofit organization that has a mission you can get behind. Figure out how your business can best serve a need—whether that be donating funds, sponsoring a specific program or event, or volunteering your time or expertise. What may appear as a small gesture on a business’ part may have a significant impact on the charity and the people they reach out to. Businesses should not hesitate to do so as often as possible.”
Do you involve your customers in supporting the worthy causes that you support?
“We often advise clients on charitable giving strategies as part of their estate planning process and make it known that as a firm we are involved with certain nonprofits and causes. However, it is important that our clients be encouraged to support causes that are personally significant to them. We take great pride in advising our clients through this process.”
How do you build philanthropic relationships within our community?
“Regular engagement—not just when it is convenient but rather when it is needed most.”
Does your staff join you in your charitable efforts?
“Yes, I encourage my staff by making them aware of my involvement, especially at the local level. Helping with a local charity allows people to see firsthand the positive impact a little effort can have on those in need. They are often inspired to get involved.”
How does community involvement translate to higher employee morale?
“Employees feel good knowing that they are making a difference in their community, which translates into higher fulfillment in the workplace. It also facilitates relationship-building and comradery among the employees themselves as they work toward a common goal.”
Who or what has had a positive impact on your life and influenced you to become a philanthropist?
“There was a time in my life where I was a substitute school teacher. I always found great joy in seeing a kid’s face light up as he understood what I was teaching him. Education is so important. When I look to get involved in a charity, much of what I do is geared toward inner-city children and serving needs that will ultimately help them get to school and thrive in the classroom. This might be putting food in a child’s belly, or it might be making sure he gets dental care. I just want the kid’s face to light up. So I get involved with charitable organizations—such as Unity of Life and others—that do this good work.”
Tell us about one of your favorite experiences when you volunteered with a charitable cause.
“I was chairman of the board of a charter school in Long Beach, and we had someone come and provide eye exams for all the kids. Out of the 100 or so kids, seven of them needed glasses. How can you do schoolwork if you can’t see? It was really cool to be a part of that.”
What’s most rewarding about your work?
“I love the diversity of the people who come into my office. Our clients are the most incredible people, and interacting with them is incredibly rewarding on both a business and personal level. Plus, I never come in and have the same day as yesterday. It’s always different because my clients are all unique and deal with unique issues.”
What is on your bucket list?
“To create my own charitable foundation.”