A How-to Wills Mentorship Program

The ACTEC Foundation has a history of supporting grant funding for ​Wills and Estates Clinics at law schools with grants across the United States. Law school clinics offer real-world, practical experience to law students while helping underserved citizens with their Wills and Estate Plans. Faculty from the law school oversee the clinic and pair students with estate planning attorneys, ensuring services are performed correctly.

Although law school clinics provide valuable experience for students, a clinic is expensive to run. A new idea – the Wills for the Underserved program – provides a different option, one that is less burdensome for a law school but that still provides good training for law students. This program creates an Estate Planning Fellowship to provide administrative support for the Program, which pairs lawyers with law students to provide basic estate planning services for those who cannot afford it. Law schools that are interested in setting up a Wills for the Underserved program will appreciate the manuals and templates below.

If your law school is interested in applying for an ACTEC Foundation grant, please complete the Grant Application Form and send the completed application via email to amy.michaud@actec.org.


Manual & Templates

Wills for the Underserved

ACTEC Fellow Professor Susan N. Gary of the University of Oregon School of Law has developed a program to provide Wills for underserved communities. This program was developed as a project of the Community Outreach Committee of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the American Bar Association and funded by a grant from The ACTEC Foundation.

Wills for the Underserved: A Mentorship Program provides a manual, templates and tools to assist law schools that want to start a Wills program. The goal is to provide as much guidance as possible, recognizing that every program will be different. The documents were created at the University of Oregon School of Law, but logos and letterhead have been removed from most of the documents to make them easier to use.

Wills for the Underserved Manual & Templates

Manual & Templates

Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future: Creating and Administering a Law School Estate Planning Clinic is a product of the WilmerHale Legal Services Clinic of Harvard Law School (Harvard HPC). The purpose of this Article is to highlight the basic structure of the Harvard EPC in an effort to articulate a replicable model for law schools nationwide. The Article consists of four (4) parts. Part I outlines the philosophical and practical considerations in establishing and administering an estate planning clinic. Parts II, III and IV comprise an estate planning practice guide for clinical instructors and students. For the sake of clarity, the Parts are organized chronologically, beginning with an overview of the intake phone-call and initial client interview in Part II, moving on to a substantive discussion of the estate planning forms and drafting process in Part III, and concluding with a protocol for reviewing, executing and filing the estate planning documents in Part IV.

Planning for the Future Guide & Forms