Penn State Law students to participate in 'Wills for Heroes' event

The tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, gave birth to Wills for Heroes (WFH), a charitable program designed to assist emergency personnel in preparing wills to protect themselves and their families.

"Wills for Heroes is an organized effort to thank these heroes for their selflessness in protecting our communities," said Kate Cramer Lawrence, director of Penn State Law's Public Interest Programming.

Despite the inherently dangerous nature of their work, a high percentage of first responders do not have a basic will. The WFH program provides first responders, such as police officers, firefighters, EMTs, corrections officers and their spouses, or widow/widowers of such personnel, with a volunteer attorney to assist in preparing wills and other estate planning documents at no charge.

The American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division has taken on the Wills for Heroes program as its public service program as has the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Young Lawyers division.

The Law School has joined the ABA and PBA with its volunteer efforts. "Like many of the service projects supported by the Law School, it is student interest in the WFH program that inspired the Law School's role in coordinating local WFH events," said Cramer Lawrence. "In the spring of 2010, students participating in the Alternative Spring Break program had the opportunity to participate in WFH's events in other Pennsylvania counties and came back from their experiences energized by the idea of bringing this opportunity to our students and this service to our community."

The Law School's first WFH event will be held in Cumberland County on Nov. 13, 2010. Future WFH events will take place in both Cumberland and Centre counties during the 2011 spring break week as part of the Alternative Spring Break programming.

The Law School is in need of volunteers, including notaries, estate planning experts, students to assist with interviewing and document production as well as general support for the day's events; lawyers to meet with first responders and draft wills, living wills and power of attorney documents; witnesses and administrative staff.

"Our hope is that this will become a recurring event in both counties, and will provide multiple opportunities for people to volunteer," said Cramer Lawrence.

For additional information about the Wills for Heroes program, visit online.

Alumni who are interested in volunteering should contact Kate Cramer Lawrence at 717-240-5210 or send an e-mail to

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Last Updated July 22, 2015