What friends are for …

Patricia H. and Patricia C.

Find yourself a friend who will not only tell you about an amazing free estate planning service available for Mecklenburg County residents over 60 but also go with you to have your documents finalized!

That’s what Patricia C. did for her friend, Patricia H. These two have known each other for years. Along with sharing a first name, they live in the same community and attend the same church.

Patricia C. had her will updated through Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Legal Services for the Elderly program when she moved to the area in 2014. 

“Because I was new, I was trying to find out everything that was available,” she says.

The program pairs Mecklenburg County residents age 60 and older with volunteer pro bono attorneys who help them prepare simple estate planning documents and execute them to ensure local seniors can maintain their dignity and independence when making end-of-life decisions without the burden of cost.

Estate planning can be expensive, especially for people living on a fixed income, which is a major reason why many put off doing it.

The pro bono attorney who prepared Patricia C.’s documents told her that had she gone to a private attorney to have the documents prepared, she would have paid at least $1,000 for the service. She’s seen others pay even more.

However, when a person dies or becomes incapacitated without documenting their wishes, loved ones are left with hard decisions to make.

That’s why Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy protects the rights of seniors who can’t afford legal assistance by providing free simple estate planning.

“Being able to have this service done takes all of the hard decision making and burden off my children’s hands,” Patricia C. says.

Patricia C. had such a wonderful experience that when she learned her friend, Patricia H., didn’t have a will, she encouraged her to call Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.

On April 26, the Patricias came to the sixth annual Wills for Seniors and Veterans Clinic at Beatties Ford Road Regional Library, where volunteers from Duke Energy, Garrity & Gossage and K&L Gates helped local seniors and veterans execute wills, advance directives and powers of attorney documents.

“I’m here to support of my friend,” Patricia C. said sitting in the waiting area.

“It’s been a good experience and my attorney explained so much,” Patricia H. said after getting her documents finalized. “I’m going to live to be 100, but I’m glad I was able to go ahead and check this off my to-do list!”

Now both women have the peace of mind that comes with knowing their wishes will be honored and a plan is in place.

The Patricias celebrated by going to lunch afterward.

That’s what friends are for.

Learn more about Legal Services for the Elderly.