Wednesday, May 06, 2009

PBA's Young Lawyers Sponsor "Wills for Heroes"

In 2009, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, through its Young Lawyers Division, now sponsors a Wills for Heroes program, which "provides no-cost wills, living wills, and health care and financial powers of attorney to first responders and their spouses/partners."

The PBA-YLD web page for its "Wills for Heroes" project explains the new project, in planning since last summer:

A program cosponsored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division, “Wills for Heroes” provides free basic estate planning documents to first responders in Pennsylvania.

“Wills for Heroes” provides police, fire and emergency medical personnel — those on the frontlines for our personal safety — the tools they need to prepare adequately for the future.

Programs are staffed by lawyer volunteers and are conveniently offered to first responders at meeting halls and police and fire stations.

The PBA-YLD web page for its "Wills for Heroes" project provides links for additional information:
The first item presently appearing on the home page of the PBA's web site is an announcement regarding the YLD's Wills for Heroes program, offering "Free Training Session for 'Wills for Heroes' Lawyer Volunteers on May 29."
Lawyers, register now to participate the "Wills for Heroes" training session to help the PBA Young Lawyers Division expand the program across the state.

Co-sponsored by the PBA YLD and Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll L.L.P., the program provides no-cost wills, living wills, and health care and financial powers of attorney to first responders and their spouses/partners.

Additional lawyer volunteers are needed to staff future programs. Get more information/sign up to volunteer.

The training session will be held May 29, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., live in Philadelphia and simulcast to seven locations across the state. Attendees earn one substantive CLE credit.

Go to the PBI Web site to register.
That training will be conducted through the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the legal education arm of the PBA, as described for the "Wills for Heroes" course, offered free to attorneys:
On September 11, 2001, 403 first responders paid the ultimate sacrifice. Many of those brave men and women did not have wills in place.

The same is true even closer to home: Pennsylvania has one of the highest amounts of volunteer first responders in the Country and, sadly, one of the highest death rates amongst volunteers.

First responders risk their lives each day to protect our community. While we cannot protect them, the Pennsylvania Bar Association has committed to protecting their families through the Wills for Heroes program.

Wills for Heroes is a free and easy service that provides Wills, Living Wills, Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney to first responders and their spouses/partners.

Programs are being scheduled all over Pennsylvania. You do not need to practice trusts and estates law to participate. You simply need to have the desire to protect those who protect us. Training for Wills for Heroes programs will be offered by the PBA Young Lawyers Division and the Pennsylvania Bar Institute.

By attending this training, your name will be placed on a volunteer list that will be used to staff upcoming Wills for Heroes programs.

Recent events in Western Pennsylvania highlight the need for estate planning documents by police officers. See: "Three Pittsburgh officers killed in standoff in Stanton Heights" (04/04/09) by Chris Togneri and Michael Hasch published by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

A year ago, I wrote a blog entry about a few local
pro bono projects separately initiated by lawyers through their county bar associations to benefit first responders. See: "Firefighters, First Responders, and Free Wills" (05/15/08).

That posting identified the "Wills for Heroes" project sponsored in 2007-2008 by the American Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division, which received a national award from the "Wills for Heroes" Foundation.

Did that blog posting spur interest among Pennsylvania lawyers in conducting such a program on a statewide basis in the Commonwealth? If so, then I am grateful for the response.

The efforts of the Young Lawyers Division of the Pennsylvania Bar Association to honor and assist first responders, by meeting their planning needs, are laudable.

Update: 08/03/10:

See my further post regarding the Wills for Heroes program and workshops held or scheduled in Pennsylvania:
"Wills for Heroes" Workshops Multiply in PA & DE (08/03/10).