Three Entities Host 45 Seniors to Create Critical Legal Documents

Las Vegas, NV – Southern Nevada Senior Law Program (SLP) is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of its Senior Advocates Pro Bono Will-a-Thon. The event was held on June 15, 2023, which was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior Center in North Las Vegas. The end result is that 45 seniors will have important legal documents in place.

Three entities came together to conceive and orchestrate this event:

    • Clark County Bar Association (CCBA – scheduled 17 pro bono attorneys to meet with seniors to start
      their Will document)
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Senior Center (Executive Director, Byron Goynes, and staff scheduled 45
      eligible seniors for the event)
    • SLP (scheduled meetings with all 45 seniors to complete their Will documents, post-event)

The Will-a-Thon utilized 17 pro bono volunteer attorneys, serving 45 vulnerable seniors by guiding them through the process necessary for SLP to prepare a Last Will and Testament for them. The interview process identified what the seniors’ wishes and priorities for basic estate planning are, which impacts their peace of mind and provides a critical service to their loved ones. This process also identified whether they have a Power of Attorney Health Care, aka an Advance Directive Document, in place or whether SLP will also prepare this document for them at the same time they receive their Will. In addition, the seniors were screened for food insecurity and other social service needs for referrals to other community resources.

As a result of this process, the risk level for these seniors to become victims of Elder Abuse in the future is reduced in these ways:

    1. The Will-a-Thon seniors have connected with caring attorneys who are available to them for issues that may arise at a later time, giving them awareness of resources and comfort in contacting Senior Law Program in the future.
    2. By guiding the Will-a-Thon seniors through the process of basic estate planning, the seniors became aware of who the trusted people in their lives are, which helps them have the awareness to carefully evaluate who they should allow to influence their most important decisions.
    3. The Will-a-Thon seniors participated in a group event with 44 of their peers and 17 volunteer attorneys, which lessens the potential for elder abuse by reducing the high-risk factor of isolation of older adults. They are aware that caring resources exist for them in times of crisis.

Diane Fearon, Executive Director at SLP said, “Senior Law Program is grateful to our Partners, Clark County Bar Association and the Martin Luther King Jr. Senior Center, for making it possible to help 45 seniors in a three-hour period yesterday in taking the first step in getting a Will in place for their peace of mind. June 15 was also World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and one of the tools a senior has to prevent abuse or exploitation is to have their estate planning in order and their wishes documented. All of SLP’s professional services are provided at no-cost by caring attorneys.”

Will-a-Thon events are an effective way to reach vulnerable seniors in our community. Will-a-thons:

    • Focus on serving low- and fixed-income seniors, helping vulnerable individuals have this important Will document in place.
    • Utilize senior centers to help those seniors with limited transportation options.
    • Decrease the waiting time for senior clients to obtain legal advice/services.
    • Help assess other legal needs senior clients may have that SLP can either assist with or determine the best referral resource, as well as assess potential social service needs that can be referred to the appropriate resources.

SLP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides no-cost, quality legal services for Southern Nevadans aged 60 years and older. It is funded by generous grants and community and client donations. In addition to its small but mighty staff of four attorneys, SLP has been creating a robust pro bono program of caring volunteer attorneys (Senior Advocates) to expand its capacity of serving older adults with the greatest social and economic needs. For senior clients facing eviction, access to legal assistance can mean the difference between facing homelessness or knowing they will have a safe place to sleep at night. SLP is there to help older adults with a serious illness diagnosis obtain a Power of Attorney Health Care and Will on an expedited basis.