Legal Services of Southern Piedmont, Charlotte School of Law & North Mecklenburg Senior Center partner to provide wills to low-income seniors
Legal Services of Southern Piedmont partnered with Charlotte School of Law and the North Mecklenburg Senior Center to serve low-income, elderly residents with free estate planning services Saturday, April 26. The wills event, a collaboration of LSSP attorneys, CSL, its students and the senior center, assisted 30 clients and brought in volunteers and staff from LSSP, CSL, North Mecklenburg Senior Center, Legal Aid of North Carolina-Charlotte and Central Piedmont Community College.
Of the more than 85,000 Mecklenburg County residents aged 65 or older, nearly 6,800 of these residents are estimated to live in poverty. Without access to the simple estate planning documents many low-income families and individuals cannot afford, older persons are at risk of losing control of end-of-life decisions and the ability to pass their assets and belongings on to family members.
“Many seniors are unaware of the importance of having these documents prepared for them,” Lois Grossman, CSL Assistant Professor of Clinical Studies, said. “And there are many seniors whose income is such that they cannot afford to have these documents prepared.”
This event allowed volunteers, students and nonprofit staff to assist seniors in completing wills, powers of attorney and advance directives at no charge to help them secure control of their assets and future decisions.
“In addition to providing students with the ability to represent clients in live clinic settings, both LSSP and LANC, acting as teachers in the field, welcome our students to work at their locations as externs,” Grossman said. “Our students gain valuable, practical experience that readies them for the real world, while serving the underserved – those in the community who would otherwise be unable to afford an attorney.”