The Washington University School of Law’s Clinical Education Program held its first pro bono estate planning clinic July 26 and 28 to serve low-income members of the St. Louis community.
In addition to taking the burdens off of people creating estate plans and their loved ones, the estate planning clinic produced a secondary benefit, said Sarah Narkiewicz, associate dean of clinical education.
“We know that much of the vacant land problem in St. Louis is created because people pass without a will, leaving their property without clear title,” she said. “This means it can’t be sold or transferred. This is a community problem that we feel our law students can use their skills to help solve.”
Volunteer law students and volunteer attorneys Keith Grissom, Molly Grewe and Jody Forsee, of the Greensfelder law firm, staffed the clinic.
“There is a huge unmet need for this kind of service in St. Louis,” Narkiewicz said. “While everyone needs a will and financial and health care powers of attorney, these services are very expensive and out of the reach of much of the population.”
Clients were able to have wills prepared and to create durable financial powers of attorney, health care powers of attorney, health care directives and beneficiary deeds, all without cost. The clinic was held virtually to make it accessible to both clients and volunteers.
For more information on law school clinics, visit the law school website.