Mo. Attorney General’s Office, local attorneys provide free estate planning for veterans

Mo. Attorney General’s Office, local attorneys provide free estate planning for veterans
Joe Wilson, volunteer, Robert Smith, attorney, Scotty Allen, Assistant Missouri Attorney General, Edna Magruder, volunteer, and attorneys Kyle Warren, Rebecca Hester, and William Gresham. (Source: U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs)

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. (KFVS) - On October 5, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and local attorneys provided free estate planned for veterans at the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center.

Veterans and their spouses had help preparing estate wills, living wills and powers of attorney free of charge.

Air Force veteran, Clifford Smith, was surprised how easy it went.

“I was amazed at how smoothly it all worked," he said. "We went through a template and the attorney asked a series of questions of me and my wife. Then when we were finished, volunteers were present to sign as witnesses, the attorney notarized the documents, and we were all done in just over an hour. This is a very valuable service to Missouri’s veterans, and I appreciate the attorney general’s office and the attorneys and individuals who volunteered their time to help so many veterans take care of what would normally be an awkward, expensive, and worrisome process.”

The event was part of Missouri’s Military Legal Assistance Team. MLAT is a program established by Scotty Allen, assistant attorney general with the Missouri Attorney General’s office.

Allen explained that the MLAT gives referrals to pro bono attorneys for representation of claims brought under the servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act.

The program helps combat predatory business practices that target Missouri’s military communities. MLAT also provides educational presentations on military consumer protection issues and other civil legal protections for service members.

“The estate planning workshops are open to veterans as well as active-duty personnel," Allen explained. "We work with volunteer attorneys in each community to set these workshops up and then help as many veterans as we can in one day.”

Allen was quick to acknowledge the importance of local volunteers, saying MLAT couldn’t do this without them.

Service members who would like to report predatory business practices or request educational presentations may contact the attorney general’s office at 573-751-6733.

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