SPOKANE, Wash., July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Marking its second year, the WA Vets Will Clinic will provide free estate planning documents for veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, as well as their spouses, on October 12, 2013. Veterans, National Guard and Reserve members and spouses who take part in this event will receive wills, power of attorney documents, health care directives, and health care power of attorney documents free of charge. All of this is made possible by the WA Vets Will Clinic, a collaboration of the Spokane County Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division, in cooperation with Army OneSource, the Gonzaga University School of Law, the American Red Cross, the Spokane Vet Center, and the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.
According to a Harris Interactive survey, a little over half of Americans do not have estate planning documents. While the reasons for not having a will may be numerous, the primary reason is cost. Indeed, a complete estate planning package can cost between $500 and $1,500.
Another common misconception is that Washington State will distribute a person's assets in the most beneficial manner should that individual die without a will. However, the repercussions of the State providing you a "free will" are generally not beneficial. For instance, if you die without a will, your "free will" has a predetermined list of beneficiaries – those that are entitled to a portion of your estate under Washington law. As Washington is a community property state, meaning that your spouse owns 50% of your assets, dying without a will could have unintended consequences. It may even result in some of your assets being distributed to an estranged sibling, parent or other relative.
The first annual WA Vets Will Clinic, designed to mitigate these negative aspects, was an unprecedented success due to the unique cooperation between local attorneys, notaries, and educational, government and community organizations. Jacob Brennan, Chair of the WA Vets Will Clinic noted that "the level of support the Clinic has received from the community, and the collaboration between our partner groups, has been astonishing. We've been blown away by the number of people who want to give back to our veterans."
Expanding upon the Clinic's initial success, this year there will be more veteran resource organizations onsite with whom veterans, National Guard and Reserve members may interact. Additionally, this year spouses will also be able to partake in the free services. "The Will Clinic is a great way for Washington's Military Veterans, National Guard/Reservists, and their spouses to obtain FREE assistance with estate planning documents such as a Will and at the same time connect with viable, reliable local resources also available to them at no cost," observed Angela Traina Community Support Coordinator for Army OneSource.
Veterans must make an appointment to participate in the WA Vets Will Clinic. Proof of Washington State residency and proof of military service are required. Spouses must present a copy of a valid marriage certificate. Appointments may be made by visiting the WA Vets Will Clinic at http://www.wavetswillclinic.com/sign-up, where those interested can complete an electronic enrollment form. Online enrollment is highly preferred; however, interested parties may visit the Spokane Vet Center or Red Cross to complete a hardcopy enrollment form if they do not have computer access.
Volunteer opportunities are available for attorneys, notaries, and law students desiring to help. Attorney volunteers will receive a free Continuing Legal Education training class. Those wishing to volunteer must sign up at http://www.wavetswillclinic.com/volunteer.
SOURCE Army OneSource