The Wills for Heroes (WFH) program was started in Columbia, South Carolina after 9/11 and is designed to assist emergency personnel in preparing Wills to protect themselves and their families. Launched in Minnesota in 2007 by the MSBA Probate and Trust Section, the Minnesota program is now part of the Amicus Society of the Minnesota State Bar Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, and is one of 27 programs nationwide.
The WFH program provides first responders and their spouse with a volunteer attorney to assist in preparing wills and other estate planning documents at no charge. Those eligible include:
If you are a single first responder and your individual net worth exceeds $500,000*, this service is unavailable to you due to the complexity of your estate and the limited time to complete the legal documents. If you are a married first responder, you and your spouse can have a combined net worth of up to $1,000,000. (To determine your net worth, include your cash, personal property, stock and bonds, real estate equity, savings, and the value of life insurance policies).
To support emergency personnel in our community who are prepared to pay the ultimate price in the line of duty, the Wills for Heroes program provides first responders with the peace of mind of knowing their affairs are in order should the unthinkable occur. This program is designed to provide free legal services to First Responders in preparation of basic estate planning documents. First Responders include: police officers, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, corrections officers, and the spouses or widow/widowers of such personnel. The Minnesota program was started by the MSBA Probate and Trust Section and is now overseen by the Minnesota State Bar Foundation and sponsored by the MSBA.
To serve First Responders, a group of volunteer attorneys and data entry personnel will go to emergency service sites across the state of Minnesota and set-up a clinic, at which time the volunteer attorneys will draft basic Wills, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives for eligible First Responders and their spouses. In advance of the meeting, First Responders will download documents from this site to be completed prior to their clinic appointment. Reviewing and completing these documents before hand is a key component to the success of the clinic. It affords the First Responder the opportunity and time to think through very important decisions and discuss them with trusted advisors; and gets them fully prepared before their scheduled appointment.
With laptops and a portable printer, a group of volunteer attorneys will arrive at the location (police station, fire station, etc.) and work with each First Responder to discuss his/her matter in a confidential manner. The participant will sit with an attorney to review their completed questionnaire. Simultaneously, a paralegal, law student, or other support staff member will sit next to the attorney and enter the information into the laptop. Once the questionnaire has been reviewed and the process explained, the Will, Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive will be generated. The attorney will review the entire document with the participant to ensure they fully understand what they are executing. After the document is explained, and any corrections made, the Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Directive will be executed and notarized. The goal is to complete the entire process in one meeting.
To schedule a clinic, go to our website: www.mnwillsforheroes.org
View to learn more about Minnesota Wills for Heroes.