By NaRita Anderson, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Finance
One of the things that I have missed most throughout these challenging times is serving my community through the Make A Will and Family Financial Planning Program.
Our mission is to remove barriers to estate planning in our community, as it relates to preparing wills and trusts. By cultivating relationships with local houses of worship, we seek to meet the needs of underserved populations, regardless of socioeconomic status. A lot of people have money, but do not have wills or trusts. Our objective is to coach participants through the entire process from identifying and gathering important documents to filing documents with the Oklahoma County Clerk’s office. Our process allows us to address difficult questions, navigate difficult topics and help participants take difficult steps in safe and familiar spaces. This process takes months to complete and culminates with our annual Make A Will and Financial Planning Workshop.
This pro bono event is sponsored by Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., in partnership with the Southwestern Urban Foundation, the Oklahoma City Association of Black Lawyers, local financial planning professionals and community leaders. Volunteer law students from the University of Oklahoma College of Law and the Oklahoma City University School of Law bear the primary responsibility of preparing most of the legal documents. At the end of the day, 150 participants will leave the event with original, notarized wills, revocable trusts, health care proxies, durable powers of attorney and transfer on death deeds. The dedication of our volunteers allows us to provide all of these services for free!
It is hard work, but it is absolutely one of the most rewarding things in my life. As I look to the future, I am grateful to have great things to look forward to.