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Just Ask Angie: Help for seniors’ wills available

By appointment meetings coming to Resource Centre
mansigningpaperwork

Q: Is there a place seniors can get their wills prepared for free on the Coast? 

A: The Resource Centre, in partnership with Seniors First BC, is excited to announce the launch of free monthly wills-preparation clinics for low-income seniors here on the Coast. 

Eligible clients will be able to meet with a Seniors First BC Lawyer who will help them prepare “advance planning” documents for free, including wills, Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. (Power of Attorney is a way of naming someone you trust to manage your financial and legal matters in case you are unable to. A Representation Agreement names someone to represent you for either health and some financial decisions or health and personal care matters.) 

Eligibility criteria to qualify for these advance planning clinics is the following: a) You are 55 or older; and b) Your household’s total income before taxes (gross income) is $40, 000 + $10,000 for every extra member of your household. For example, if your household is four people, your household’s combined total income would need to be under $70, 000 ($40,000+$10,000+$10,000 +$10,000) to qualify. Note: Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. 

These free advance planning clinics will happen at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre by appointment, on the first Friday of every month. The first clinic is Friday, Oct. 6. 

Clients will come in-person to the Resource Centre for their scheduled meeting with the lawyer. The lawyers will actually appear via video-conference. If technology is not your thing, not to worry! The setup and running of the video technology is all taken care of by a program assistant who will welcome you, take care of the technology side of things, and make your appointment straightforward. 

To make an appointment: call the Seniors First BC Seniors Abuse & Information Line (SAIL) at 1-866-437-1940 or come into the Resource Centre and we can help you fill out an intake form in-person. When you call or fill out the intake form, you will need to provide your income as well as a rough breakdown of your assets (including real estate, vehicles, valuables and financial accounts.) For more info: seniorsfirstbc.ca/programs/advance-planning-clinics/ . Note: We can help you access that phone line if this is a barrier for you for requesting an appointment by phone. 

There is another free in-person legal service on the Coast for any income level. Local lawyer Robert Hart is offering free 15-minute legal consults to seniors every other Tuesday at the Sechelt Seniors Activity Centre. But he books up fast! To book a consultation with him call McLash Law’s front desk: 604-989-9000. 

If you are a local lawyer who offers (or has been thinking about offering) occasional in-person pro-bono service here on the Coast, we’d love to know! 

Angie Theilmann is an information and referral specialist at the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre, your community information hub. The Resource Centre is open Monday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are recommended to be sure we are available to help you. Note: on some days, we can book clients after 2 p.m. Contact us: help@resourcecentre.ca or 604-885-4088.