The Advance Directives for Seniors Pro Bono Project is a quarterly event that provides many area senior citizens with the opportunity to create important legal documents free of charge. The project is a collaboration of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, Florida Coastal School of Law, The Jacksonville Bar Association and the Northeast Florida Paralegal Association.
It brings together legal resources to provide this vital service to our community's seniors, that is, the creation of advance directive documents.
Sixteen senior citizens received this one-on-one legal assistance. With the help of seven area attorneys, five paralegals and four law students, the seniors were able to prepare and execute documents that included durable powers of attorney; designations of health care surrogate, designations of pre-need guardian and living wills.
All senior participants left with their fully executed advance directives and more information about how those documents can help protect them and their families.
The volunteers came armed with laptops, template documents, notary stamps and knowledge to accomplish the goals of the event.
Although the main goal of the event is to prepare and execute advance directive documents, participating attorneys also counsel seniors as to whether a simple will or other document will be beneficial to them, given their personal assets.
The event provides participants with legal documents and the assurance that as they age, people they trust will be able to act on their behalf.
"This is such an amazing and important service. We're all so grateful for the efforts and generosity of the volunteers. It just gives everyone such peace of mind," said Megan Nuckles, the service coordinator at Hogan Creek.
Participating attorneys were Vicki Bowers, Rachael Zeitz Ardanuy, Robert Morgan, Cynthia Trimmer, Susan Novak, Debbie Lee-Clark and Rusty Mead.
Volunteering paralegals were Carin Deitler, Stephanie Burton, Donna Hoffman, Ronline Cannady and Beckie Evangelista.
Participating students were Victoria Lee, Charles Sherrard, Justin Smith and Cecil Grant.
The sponsors of the 2013 Advance Directives for Seniors Pro Bono Project events are Mike Jorgensen and Senior Counsel Law, Vicki Joiner Bowers, Robert M. Morgan and Associates, The Law Office of Imani Boykin, and The General Practice, Solo, and Small Firm Section of The Florida Bar.
Sincere thanks and appreciation are extended to all volunteers and event sponsors. These events offer services that provide a greater sense of security for those who are under-represented. They also bring awareness to the needs of seniors in our own community.
Attorneys who would like information about participating in the advance directives or other pro bono events are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, chairwoman, The JBA Pro Bono Committee at email@example.com.
Attorneys, paralegals, and law students gathered Feb. 23 Downtown at Hogan Creek Towers to assist area senior citizens in creating and executing advance directive documents.