Once again I participated in the Wills for Heroes program this time in Baltimore. Wills for Heroes provides wills, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives for first responders. This year the program has been expanded to include Veterans along with firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and their spouses. Even though these public servants are routinely in harm’s way the percentage that have wills is lower than for the general public.
The program is designed to provide basic estate planning documents for a large number of people. Attorneys are trained to use the software and updated on the latest laws before meeting with clients. Notaries are available at separate tables to speed the process. Finally, estate planning attorneys oversee the entire process answering difficult questions and helping tailor the wills unique situations. Working as a supervisory attorney is a rewarding, but taxing day. Instead of working with a few clients in a day I spend the entire day answering client and attorney questions. It is a great review of much of the estate law and practical applications that I deal with on a daily basis. The clients end up with a very good will that protects their family from the problems caused by relied on state law to distribute assets and determine who will represent your interests if you are unable.
The first responders walk out of the program with a set of competed estate planning documents. As true professionals they arrive at the session with completed questionnaires and have made many of the tough decisions such as who will be the guardian of their children and personal representative of their estate. They feel relief when the process is complete. I feel good knowing they can concentrate on their job next time the call comes in for their help.