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New Volunteer Projects at VLSP

Two new volunteer-based projects for attorneys in the Sacramento area have been launched in 2017 by the Voluntary Legal Services Program.

Mission

Probate Court Pro Bono Panel

The first new project is the Probate Court Pro Bono Panel. This project, first proposed by Judge Steven Gevercer of the Sacramento County Superior Court’s Probate department, calls for attorneys to provide two types of services pro bono: (1) representation for petitioners seeking probate guardianships of the person and (2) representation in summary probate proceedings.

Judge Gevercer has observed that many self-represented litigants struggle with the requirements of seeking relief in these proceedings and turned to the Probate legal community for help in assuring access to justice.

VLSP was asked to participate in this project by interviewing prospective clients, making referrals, and
providing training and mentors for attorneys new to these particular proceedings. An MCLE guardianship
training took place for our volunteers. We are grateful to Julia Kaufman, staff attorney for the Probate Court,
for her excellent presentation on this topic. We are also grateful to the Probate and Estate Planning Section
of the SCBA for their sponsorship of the lunch provided at the training, along with the lovely folders provided
to the attendees.

Mission

Estate Planning Clinic

The second new project is the Estate Planning Clinic. This project has been spearheaded by attorney Jeff Galvin of Downey, Brand, and is being jointly sponsored by the SCBA Estate Planning and Probate Section, the Sacramento Estate Planning Council, and VLSP. A volunteer committee planned the monthly clinic where low income individuals will be able to obtain a Will, an Advance Health Care Directive and a Power of Attorney for property management.

The Estate Planning Clinic is scheduled for the first Monday evening of every month. Attendees will first listen to an informative presentation about estate planning.

Each participant will then meet with an attorney volunteer to discuss the preparation of his or her estate
plan. Those who are prepared to finalize these basic documents can do so that evening; otherwise, they
can return the next month to get their documents prepared. Volunteers from the Sacramento Valley
Paralegal Association will be on hand to notarize documents as needed.

We are looking forward to assisting the indigent clients of VLSP with the preparation of these important
documents which will not only be of help to their families at the time of the client’s passing, but will also
make clear what the clients’ wishes are regarding handling of their medical care and finances in case of
incapacity.

Many thanks to everyone who has been involved in the planning of these two new projects that will
provide valuable services to the Sacramento community.