In this Q&A, Rebecca Fisch talks about the public service she delivered and valuable experience she gained in volunteering for the Make a Will Month program.
How did you come to be involved in Make a Will Month?
I was aware of the program through my involvement in the OBA Trusts and Estates Executive. I know how much time and energy my colleagues there, and in particular, [member-at-large] Kathryn Balter, had put into developing the program. I wasn't able to participate last year but was excited to do so this year.
You chose to lead a session at the Jane/Sheppard TPL branch. Can you tell me why you signed on for this location?
I had initially signed up for two locations closer to home, which is, I suspect, how most of us chose our locations. When the final list was circulated I saw that there were a number of underserved communities that didn't have volunteers so I decided to volunteer for one of those. It wasn't something I had turned my mind to initially.
What were your hopes and expectations for this session?
I didn't really have any expectations. I was hopeful that people from the community would come. People often think that they don't need a will if they don't have significant assets, which we all know isn't actually true. I wanted to be able to explain that as soon as you have children, you need to have a will in order to provide directions about their care. I also wanted to stress the importance of having powers of attorney, and I think that message really resonated.
How did the event go?
I think the event was great; we had a good turnout, and the participants had a lot of questions. I have had a number of them email me afterwards with follow-up questions. While we can't provide individual legal advice, I'm happy to act as a resource for people to get more general information about the importance of wills and powers of attorney.
Did you have opportunity to gain feedback from attendees after the session?
I have heard from a number of them via email and they are all very appreciative. The library staff was as well and they are hoping to have more lawyers come in to talk about various topics.
What advice would you offer other lawyers considering participating in Make a Will Month next year?
I think it's a great speaking opportunity. The participants are so appreciative and you really feel like you are providing a necessary resource for the public. It is not a significant time commitment — the OBA provides the slides. I would really recommend it as a first speaking opportunity for junior practitioners. it’s a great way to get your feet wet!
For more information about Make a Will Month, visit www.oba.org/mawm.