Volunteer attorneys to prepare wills free of charge
for eligible low-income Houston residents
April 4 and May 2
Application Deadline – March 30
The City of Houston Department of Neighborhoods (DON) and Complete Communities, in partnership with the Houston Bar Association (HBA) and Houston Volunteer Lawyers (HVL), the service arm of the HBA, announce the 2018 Will-A-Thon, offering will preparation legal services to eligible low-income Houstonians free of charge.
The Will-A-Thon will consist of two will clinics scheduled for April 4 and May 2, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the Tidwell Community Center, 9720 Spaulding St., Houston, TX 77016. The clinics will be staffed by HBA and HVL volunteer attorneys who will prepare simple wills for pre-approved participants.
Houstonians eligible for these services are low-income seniors age 60 and older, persons with disabilities, and military veterans.
Persons interested in receiving these services must complete a screening interview by phone at 713-228-0735. The application deadline is March 30, 2018.
Approximately 55 percent of American adults do not have a will or other estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis. That percentage is higher among minorities–at 68 percent for black adults and 74 percent for Hispanics adults.
“Life is unpredictable, so it is urgent to have a will in place to ensure that one’s last wishes are carried out,” said DON director TaKasha Francis. “While many of us may not have a will due to procrastination or lack of information, for a great number of people, it is due to a lack of resources to pay an attorney. This is particularly true for many low-income Houstonians whose financial hardships have only worsened in the aftermath of Harvey. The Will-A-Thon is an opportunity for eligible residents to receive the legal assistance they need, free of charge, to get this vital document in place.”
“Many residents may have had their wills, medical directives and other important documents destroyed during Hurricane Harvey, and others may need to have these documents amended,” said Alistair Dawson, Houston Bar Association president. “Creating a new will is often the best solution, and the Houston Bar Association Will-A-Thon is a great opportunity to do that.”
Estate Planning is important because the will sets out the person’s wishes as to how their property is to be distributed and designates Power of Attorney to the party who is to handle the personal and financial affairs of the person as needed. Estate Planning may include “living will” directives to family members and medical care providers and may also name guardians for minor children.
“Everyone should have end of life and other important documents in order, to avoid legal problems if they become incapacitated or pass away,” said Dawson. “Having a will provides peace and dignity, ensuring that your wishes are respected and fulfilled.”
For more information about the Will-A-Thon, call DON at 832-394-0701.
The Will-A-Thon is a City of Houston Complete Communities project. For information visit www.houstontx.gov/completecommunities.