Estate Planning

2015.07.18_IMG_1014_(4)-2Through the Clinic, students represent local veterans and their family members in estate planning matters.  In all of our case work, we strive to help veterans and their families attain the maximum degree of stability and financial well being.

Enrollment is through the Veterans Law and Disability Benefits Clinic and Clinical Seminar.  We ask enrolled students to express their preference for participating in the Veterans Benefits Project or the Estate Planning Project.  We fully expect to be able to honor each student’s preference for either the Veterans Benefits Project or the Estate Planning Project or a combination of the two.

About the work of the Estate Planning Clinic:

Through the Clinic, student handle various case types, all with the purpose of helping veterans exercise the maximum control over family, health, and financial decision making.  Among other things, students represent clients on matters involving:

  • wills
  • powers of attorney
  • health care proxies
  • living wills
  • trusts
  • special needs trusts
  • guardianships
  • conservatorships
  •  probate of estates
  • qualifying for VA Pension
  • qualifying for MassHealth

Clinic students will have numerous lawyering opportunities, including client interviewing, legal research & writing, client counseling, drafting and executing legal instruments, and appearances in Probate Court.

Many of the veterans we represent have serious health issues.  Some clients are older and in failing health, others are younger and have returned from recent overseas deployments with PTSD or Traumatic Brain Injury as well as other injuries.  Students in the Clinic have frequent opportunities to interact with medical providers and medical experts and to work on cases at the intersection of mental health and the law.

The Clinic plays a vital community role.  There are approximately 400,000 veterans in Massachusetts, and a significant percentage—including far too many homeless veterans and a growing population of women veterans—lacks access to legal representation.  Helping this population addresses an enormous unmet legal need and provides students a powerful opportunity to advocate for those who have served the country and fallen on hard times.  Students work on compelling and timely legal issues, from compensation for military sexual trauma or Agent Orange exposure to protection of a veteran’s limited assets and access to healthcare.

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We are grateful to the DAV Charitable Service Trust for its generous support of our legal services program for disabled veterans.