ACTEC Foundation Supports Development of Mentoring Program Helping Underserved Communities

Apr 20, 2020 | News

Contact: Pamela Goldsmith

Washington, DC, April 20, 2020: The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) Foundation today announced the launch of a Wills for the Underserved Program, a mentorship program funded by The ACTEC Foundation.

The project model was born out of discussions in the Real Property, Trust and Estate Section of the American Bar Association and was developed by ACTEC Fellow and University of Oregon professor of law Susan N. Gary. The program offers a unique mentorship opportunity for law students to provide pro bono estate planning assistance that includes wills, advance directives and durable powers of attorney. Participating law schools will mentor and offer practical experience to their students while aiding elderly and low-income citizens with wills and estate plans. Faculty of participating law schools will provide oversight and pair students with volunteer estate planning attorneys who will mentor the students.

“The Wills for the Underserved Program was created for those who can’t afford basic estate planning such as individuals with minimal assets who need to nominate a guardian for minor children and create a testamentary trust for those children if both parents die,” said Gary. “Clients may have family situations not well served by the intestacy statutes and may want property allocated to family members rather than intestate heirs.”

The ACTEC Foundation has a long history of supporting wills and estates clinics at law schools across the country. The Wills for Underserved Program was devised in a way that does not require the infrastructure of a law school clinic, and it does not require the same level of time and commitment from students. Full details about the program, including a comprehensive manual, tools and templates for implementation, as well as information for lawyers and students or potential donors are available on the ACTEC Foundation website. A suite of additional resources for trust and estate law professors and law schools is available, as well.


About the ACTEC Foundation: The ACTEC Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) that offers education to families and professionals and supports students interested in the trust and estate area of the law. Through continued financial support, The ACTEC Foundation offers professional development, scholarships and education for a number of important efforts including legal education, educational support, public initiatives, legal publications and the student editorial board.

About the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel:  Established in 1949, The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, ACTEC, is a national organization of approximately 2,500 lawyers, peer-elected to membership by demonstrating the highest level of integrity, commitment to the profession, competence and experience as a trust and estate counselor. Our members, “Fellows,” are the best and brightest in trust and estate practice, with decades of experience representing and advising families. ACTEC offers technical comments about the law and its effective administration but does not take positions on matters of policy or political objectives.

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