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August 13, 2007

ABA Young Lawyers Create Wills for San Francisco Firefighters As Kick-off of New Public Service Project

Lawyers form the ABA’s Young Lawyers Division spent Saturday with San Francisco first responders talking about a very serious matter—ensuring the firefighters that their final wishes would be carried out. More than 35 first responders walked away from the San Francisco Fire Department Division of Training with free wills during the YLD event at the ABA Annual Meeting.

The event kicked off the division’s ’07-’08 public service project, Wills for Heroes. Created in response to an overwhelming need, this program is a product of the Wills for Heroes Foundation, a nationwide charitable organization that provides free wills and other estate planning documents to eligible first responders.

Here’s how the process works. After completing a disclaimer form, the first responder is paired up with a volunteer lawyer to draft the will. By prompts from state-specific legal software, the lawyer completes the form while consulting with the responder. Once completed, it’s printed and notarized — all in under an hour.

To date, the Foundation has assisted thousands of emergency first responders in several states, including South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, Arizona and Washington. In addition, new chapters of Wills for Heroes affiliates are on the way in Illinois, Minnesota, Alabama, North Carolina and Nevada. For more information on Wills for Heroes, visit www.willsforheroes.org.