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									State Bar of Arizona Young Lawyers Division Wills for Heroes
proposal to State Bar of Arizona Board of Governors

Wills for Heroes
A September 11TH Program
A. Project Description The events of September 11th reminded us all of the extraordinary, everyday sacrifices made by firefighters, police and emergency medical technicians - first response personnel. These individuals devote their lives to serving their communities and are prepared to pay the ultimate price in the line of duty. In an effort to show our appreciation for their efforts and sacrifices, members of the legal community have designed and implemented the Wills for Heroes Program. This program offers first response personnel free will preparation and health care proxy services. As a community, we owe first response personnel a debt of gratitude. We also believe that each person in the community has something to give back to the people who give so much. It is our hope that as young lawyers, we can contribute by affording first response personnel the peace of mind of knowing their affairs are in order and their families are provided for should the unthinkable occur. B. Project History 1. Identification of Need

The brainchild behind this program is Anthony Hayes, a young lawyer at Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough, LLP, in Columbia, South Carolina. Wills for Heroes began with an email to a local Assistant Fire Chief asking what lawyers could do to help his department. The chief pulled together a random sample of fifteen fire fighters for a discussion of their possible needs. It soon became clear that the only way to provide services to the majority of the department would be to offer free Wills. Based on the South Carolina experience, we must be prepared for initial skepticism. People rarely believe that we are offering free legal services and often think there is a catch, that we are trying to gain access to first response personnel to sell them goods or services. 2. Determination of Project Goals and Designs

The goal of Wills for Heroes is to offer free Wills and Health Care Proxies to all first responders in our community. Initially, South Carolina started with fire departments. Specifically, before the program went department-wide, they did a test run on fifteen fire fighters who volunteered for a group discussion.



Program Parameters and Malpractice

To keep the program manageable, the South Carolina model is a Will drafted in a single sitting. First, the South Carolina team compiled a questionnaire for distribution by the fire department to interested personnel. The questionnaire gives a brief explanation of the process, outlines important caveats and asks the participant to answer key questions necessary to draft the Will. The questionnaire also asked key questions, such as the participant=s choice for personal estate representative. By receiving the questions ahead of time, the participants were able to think through this decision and discuss the issues with their spouse or other trusted friend. This process identified some important limitations to put on the program. For example, to keep the program manageable, only four Will options were offered. The four-option will program and limitations in South Carolina allowed them to reach approximately 70 to 80 percent of their target audience. Based on the South Carolina experience, Arizona will not offer complex trusts or other complicated estate planning matters. Under the South Carolina model, wills were not drafted for individuals with estates in excess of $600,000. This restriction was put in place for two reasons. Initially, federal estate tax becomes an issue if your estate exceeds approximately $700,000, so they allowed a $100,000 cushion; to avoid those tax implications, they suggested the services of a specialist for anyone falling in this category. It is also worthy to note that individuals with estates in excess of $600,000.00 probably will not need this service. These restrictions are also in place for malpractice reasons. To limit liability, we will consult ad ok i epr ne Tut&Ete t m o l yr( & T a ”tc a t fu n w r wt xe ecd rs h i s s t e fa e “ E em )o r t h or as a w s T ee e Will options. As long as we stay within the parameters of the four options, malpractice should not be an issue. However, to further insulate our members from malpractice concerns, we will follow the Modest Means model and develop a disclaimer that must be signed by all participants in the program. The South Carolina Will is drafted and programmed in Hot Docs by Capsoft, a Lexis-Nexis product. Hot Docs is document assembly software that turns the language used in the Wills into a template. The software is flexible and easy to use. SBA YLD, in conjunction with Mr. Hayes, is working with Lexis-Nexis to obtain a limited license to load Hot Docs software on WFH computers at no cost to the program.



Planning/Development The three key elements to drafting Wills in one sitting is: 1) Getting the questionnaire to the participants early so they can start thinking about their decisions; and 2) Keeping the will options simple; and 3) Using a template or computer program that allows the lawyer to fill in the blanks of the Will form based on the participant=s choices. Here again, the T & E Team will be crucial. Finally, the Wills for Heroes program has agreed to loan SBA YLD three (3) Gateway laptop computers, with Hot Docs Wills pre-loaded, for use in this program.


Program Execution With these laptops and a portable printer, we will go to the first responder location, tentatively scheduled for a Saturday morning. Experientially, the South Carolina group used department training rooms as meeting spaces for the will-drafting sessions. For fire departments, station captains assisted by rotating the participants into the training room. Following this procedure, the participant will sit with an attorney to review the questionnaire. Simultaneously, a paralegal, law student, or other support staff member would sit next to the attorney and enter the information into the laptop. Once the questionnaire has been reviewed and the process explained, the Will is generated. The attorney will review the entire document with the participant to ensure they fully understand what they are executing. After the document is explained, and any corrections made, the Will is executed and notarized before the participant leaves at a Will signing table. For malpractice reasons, SBA YLD will only maintain a copy of the questionnaire. We will not retain a copy of the Will. The questionnaire will provide us with a list of individuals serviced, as well as the names and addresses to send disengagement letters. For example, under South Carolina law, the attorney/client relationship established between the attorney and participant continues until terminated. No participating attorney is allowed to solicit business during this process.



Considerations in Project Planning and Implementation in Arizona 1. Personnel

To implement the program, we will need the assistance of experienced Trusts & Estates lawyers and computer savvy personnel. In addition, the assistance of support staff will be crucial. Having support personnel available to input the information will allow the attorney to give the first responder one-on-one attention. 2. Revenue Availability

The costs of this program are nominal. Mr. Hays is prepared to loan three (3) Gateway laptops to this program. South Carolina has found that the purpose of the program, coupled with the lack of any ulterior motive, has led to numerous avenues of support. Mr. Hays has also offered to travel to Arizona, at his expense, to train us on the program, and to provide ongoing support as we encounter any unexpected issues. 3. Recruiting and Training Volunteers

As this is a September 11th inspired program, it sells itself. By reaching out through firm-wide emails, the Arizona Attorney, e-Legal, and the YLD listserv, we will find little difficulty locating volunteers. For training, we will rely upon the T & E team to conduct a seminar (for CLE credit) to explain the different Will options and answer common questions. The seminar will be videotaped for later use. 4. Publicity

As long the program does not involve solicitation by the lawyers and is nothing more than an effort to give something back to the community, publicity will take care of itself. Local media outlets will be contacted as they continue to be interested in September 11th related stories. We will, nevertheless, keep the focus on the program and the participants, not the lawyers. 5. Partnerships

This is a critical component to the success of WFH in Arizona. We have already secured a partnership with the 100 Club, and have been working with the Northwest Fire District and Local 493 I.A.F.F. to get union approval and buy-in to build confidence with rank and file members. Further, SBA YLD is discussing collaboration options with the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education, and the 100 Club has suggested several grant opportunities that might be available to the program for computers, printers, ink and paper.


Implementation Timetable Step 1: Get approval and buy-in from the State Bar of Arizona to implement the program. Step 2: Contact first responder organizations to gauge interest and explore partnerships. Step 3: Constitute a Trusts and Estates (T&E) team to review the South Carolina forms and modify to comport with Arizona law. Step 4: Work with State Bar Counsel to draft a disclaimer, similar to one used for the Modest Means program. Step 5: Work with first responder partners to coordinate one or two >WFH days= at select locations as test-run stations. Deliver questionnaire to department and coordinate where and how the lawyers will meet with the participants. Step 6: Meet with the participants and draft the Wills. The complexity of the Will also dictates how long the participant must meet with the lawyer. Based on teams of six lawyers and paralegals, SC averaged 10-12 Wills per hour. Step 7: Evaluate success of program and refine, if necessary, before continuing with program expansion. Step 8: Send out disengagement letters, if necessary.

1 month

In progress (August 20th)

1 month

In progress (100 Club, Local 493 IAFF) In progress

1 month

2 weeks

1 month

3 weeks

Target: October 2004

2 weeks

1 week


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