Free Wills for Heroes program set for Saturday to help emergency responders

Becky Campbell • Apr 30, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Local attorneys will lend a helping hand to emergency responders in the way of will preparation, an event that’s part of the national Wills for Heroes program.

“It’s a project the Tennessee Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division does every year,” said Rachel Ralston, a local attorney coordinating the event. “We do it in every district each year. We’ve been doing it since 2001.”

The local district consists of the upper East Tennessee counties. Ralston said about 60 first responders are signed up to have their wills drafted free of charge on Saturday. “The spots for the first responders are pretty full. We could work a few more in but if they could call and let us know,” she said.

There are also plenty of attorneys already volunteering for the event, but Ralston said other volunteers are also needed.

“We need witnesses and notaries,” she said. Anyone can be a witness, but notaries have to be currently licensed.

The event will benefit all first responders — police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel.

“One of the big reasons (for the project) is so their children have guardians and that their assets are protected upon their death. It really just protects their family,” Ralston said.

Since the project began locally, the bar has served 40 to 50 first responders each year, Ralston said. This year that number is up about 10 percent.

Statewide, the project has assisted 640 first responders and more than 300 attorneys have volunteered their time to the program. Nationwide, more than 7,000 first responders have been helped, Ralston said.

For more information about the project, visit www.willsforhe  roes.com   or to volunteer, call Ralston at 378-8871.

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