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Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association member, Yaima Coto, provides assistance with advance directives documents.
Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 6, 201412:00 PM EST

Pro bono spotlight: JWLA provides advance directives for seniors

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by: Kathy Para

The Jacksonville Women Lawyers Association has partnered with the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership to provide low-income seniors with advance directive documents.

Recently, MCCI Medical Group Inc. contacted the partnership with the goal of developing a resource through which low-income, senior patients could get legal assistance in creating those documents.

At the same time, JWLA was making a commitment to increase its pro bono involvement in our community.

Matching the need for advance directives with a group of willing volunteers means that more area senior citizens will have the support of people they trust as they manage their health, housing, and financial matters.

JWLA chose to serve the MCCI Medical Group clinic in the Gateway Shopping Center and the attorneys have hit the ground running in their efforts to serve.

In mid-September, pro bono attorneys and JWLA members Imani Boykin and Amelia Henderson conducted a group session at the Gateway MCCI clinic.

Senior citizens gathered to hear Boykin and Henderson describe the purposes of each of these advance directive documents: durable power of attorney, designation of health-care surrogate, designation of pre-need guardian and a living will.

Seniors who wanted to sign up to have the documents created worked with Ieasha Pitts, the activities coordinator at the clinic, to schedule a time to meet with an attorney Sept. 27.

Nine senior citizens completed their advance directives documents. Five more who were not able to attend the Saturday event have indicated they would like to have the service. JWLA members also have committed to assisting these seniors complete their documents.

As more seniors are identified who need to get these important documents in place, MCCI Gateway clinic will refer the seniors to the partnership and JWLA members will have the opportunity to fill those additional needs, as well.

These attorneys provided the legal counsel Sept. 27: Sally Anne Brown, Yaima Coto, Sarah Mannion and Rob Edelman.

These paralegals drafted documents, notarized documents and scanned executed documents for archiving in the Jacksonville Area Legal Aid case management system: Donna Hoffman, Linda Murphy and Ralph Murphy.

Sincere appreciation is extended to the leadership and members of JWLA for stepping up for senior citizens who would not otherwise have access to legal assistance.

The partnership is a collaborative project of Jacksonville Area Legal Aid, various Northeast Florida medical providers and many 4th Circuit legal providers, including law firms and Florida Coastal School of Law.

Medical providers serving low-income and vulnerable patients at clinics such as the Sulzbacher Center, We Care, Volunteers in Medicine, Children’s Medical Services, JaxHATS at UF Health Jacksonville, AgeWell, Institute of Baptist Health, Community Hospice and the Department of Health, make referrals to the partnership’s staff attorney, who screens the patients referred for legal issues.

With a new medical provider on board, the MCCI Medical Group will also be referring elderly, low-income patients in need of advance directives or with other legal matters with which they need assistance.

There is one more advance directives for seniors event scheduled this year in Duval County: Oct. 25 at Pablo Towers in Jacksonville Beach. There also is an event scheduled in Nassau County on Nov. 21 at the Council on Aging.

Attorneys interested in these and other pro bono opportunities throughout the 4th Judicial Circuit are encouraged to contact Kathy Para, Chair, The JBA Pro Bono Committee, [email protected].

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