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Wills for Heroes: Free estate planning for first responders and veterans

Ryan Leckey has a look at a free program that has local lawyers teaming up to help first responders.

NANTICOKE, Pa. — A free program could come to the rescue for many first responders and their families who are residents of Luzerne County.

It's called Wills for Heroes.

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey highlighted the program on Wednesday.

Ryan spotlighted the project from Luzerne County Community College's Public Safety Training Institute. It's on the campus at LCCC in Nanticoke. That's where the event will take place on February 22, starting at 10 a.m. Sessions last around one hour.

Ryan helped spread the word about the free program since participants have to pre-register by one week from February 12.

The deadline to sign up is February 18.

Click here to register and type the password "luzerne" to get into the site. The word "luzerne" should remain in lower case.

If the event fills up, organizers are doing a waiting list for another event.

If you have any questions about this event or the waiting list, please contact David Pedri at 570-592-3311.

Another Wills for Heroes event is planned in April in Susquehanna County. Head here to learn more about that one and others in Pennsylvania.

What to bring with you on February 22

You will need the approximate value of and how any of the following are titled(alone or joint):

  • Real property - All vehicles (automobiles, trucks, boats, etc.)
  • Retirement accounts’ values (401(K), 403(b), 457 & IRA)
  • Non-retirement accounts & CDs (savings, checking, brokerage, money market)
  • Stocks & Bonds not held in any account
  • Money others owe you
  • Value of your business(es)
  • Life insurance death benefits (including any employer life insurance)
  • Other money or property
  • Mortgage(s) on real property
  • Credit card debt
  • Any other debt

Reason behind the program

Organizers say Wills for Heroes was launched because those on the front lines saving lives are often most at risk of serious injuries or even death. Lawyers found that after 9/11 in 2001, many first responders who helped that day didn't have these types of documents in place to help their families, hence the project 

Background info from the volunteer lawyers who are making the event happen

In partnership with the Pennsylvania Bar Association, we are proud to bring the Wills for Heroes program to you. Wills for Heroes is a free and easy service that provides Wills, Living Wills, Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney to first responders and military veterans and their spouses/partners.

If you die without a Will, Pennsylvania's intestate laws will determine who will receive your property. Undoubtedly, your loved ones' grief will be overwhelming; a clear expression of your intent, desires, and wishes may help ease some of this inevitable burden. While nobody likes to think about an untimely death, it is best that you express your wishes through a written document. For your family's peace of mind, please consider this invaluable opportunity, offered completely free to you and your spouse/partner.

Appointments for each person last approximately one hour. After it, you will have notarized legal documents – a Will, Living Will, and Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney (or any combination thereof). If you select that you are coming with a spouse/significant other, you will have back to back appointments, and the computer will automatically schedule a second appointment. You do not need to schedule a separate appointment. Please schedule your appointment early as this event is sure to fill up fast.

For more information on the program, visit the "Wills for Heroes Foundation" website

** If your estate exceeds approximately $750,000, this service is unavailable to you due to the complexity of your estate and the limited time to complete the legal documents. 

For determining if your estate is over $750,000, include your cash, personal property, stock and bonds, real estate equity, savings, cash value of a whole/universal life insurance policy only (not the amount of the insurance policy). For questions on eligibility, call David Pedri at 570-592-3311.