I strongly believe that giving back to community is an essential part of the practice of law. Fortunately, at the OBA there are many opportunities to do so. As a member of the OBA’s Trusts and Estates Law Section of the OBA, I had the great pleasure of participating in their November Make A Will Month (MAWM) campaign, during which OBA members present legal information sessions at libraries and community hubs across the province to help the public better understand the importance of having a will in place prepared by a lawyer. On November 9, 2022, I presented for the #OBAMakeAWill Month free drop-in program on wills and estate planning hosted by the Toronto Public Library’s Scarborough Civic Centre Branch.
Though a small gathering, the members of the public who attended were greatly engaged – asking several questions and seeking clarifications about estate planning that I was able to address. It is always wonderful to interact with the public in that way. As practitioners we must consider the business of law, dedicating time to retaining clients and addressing their specific needs. In a public forum, a practitioner must become a teacher and present general facts and often we are able to draw from our practice to present examples that make the legalise relatable to the public.
This is a rewarding experience as it allowed me to meet with persons who may not otherwise be able to access such information. The preparation for the presentation also caused me to review the law in a broader academic context – helpful in confirming my own knowledge of this area of practice. It was a perfect opportunity to learn as you teach.
One of the most asked questions both in practice and at these information sessions is when a person should prepare or review their will. For some reason, people always seem to think that there is a specific period when their will requires review once prepared. The common perception is usually five years. It has always been my belief that this is not an effective practice, and the public should be made aware that a will should be reviewed as the need arises and based on life changes.
The MAWM campaign is something that I hope to continue to participate in during the upcoming years. It is an excellent way to give back to our communities.
If you’re an OBA member interested in leading public info sessions on wills and estate-planning – or any number of legal topics – please register for our Speakers Bureau.
About the author
Nandi A O Deterville is the principal of Deterville Law Office, a firm that focuses on Estate Planning and Immigration Law. Nandi has been an active member of the OBA since 2015 and now serves as the immediate past chair of the Women Lawyers Forum and member-at-large of the Immigration Law section executive committee.