The North Carolina Bar Foundation’s ambitious quest to host Wills for Heroes clinics at every North Carolina law school in a single bar year came to fruition on Saturday, March 16, when the NCBF’s acclaimed pro bono program visited Campbell Law School.
The NCBF previously offered clinics this bar year at Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, North Carolina Central University School of Law and Duke University School of Law in Durham, the University of North Carolina School of Law in Chapel Hill and Elon University School of Law in Greensboro.
Wills for Heroes provides free estate planning documents to the heroes of our communities – law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and their peers who protect and serve the citizens of this state as first responders.
It is serious business, but even so, the Heplers and the Killettes had a good time discussing their decision to come in together and have estate planning documents prepared.
“We felt like it was a good time to go ‘adulting’ on a Saturday,” confessed Ryan Hepler of the Rocky Mount Police Department, accompanied by his wife, Leslie. “As young people, this is not something that you think of, but it’s a great opportunity to get things in line.”
“My wife already has a will,” added Edwin Killette of the Zebulon Police Department, accompanied by his wife, Jessica. “She smarter than me.”
Both couples expressed their appreciation to the North Carolina Bar Foundation for making Wills for Heroes possible.
“I think it’s great that you can get all of these volunteers together,” concluded Ryan Hepler. “It’s amazing.”
Jamie Brantley of the Clayton Police Department, accompanied by his wife, Carmen, had heard about the program before but learned about this particular Wills for Heroes clinic through Facebook.
“Our line of work has changed significantly,” Brantley said, adding that the stakes are higher now that he and his wife have two children. “This is one of the things that you don’t plan for, that you don’t expect, but there is no better preparedness.
“You never know.”
“Most people in this line of work are not well paid,” Carmen Brantley injected. “To have something like this done for free is a real benefit.”
Robert and Tabitha Talley both work for the Raleigh Police Department. Robert was in uniform Saturday, but Tabitha was not. She’s expecting their first child in a few days.
“This will be our first granddaughter,” said Tabitha’s mother Sonia Gregory, who accompanied her daughter to the clinic. “Emmie,” as the child will be known, “has already been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, so it is really a blessing to know that she is taken care of.”
Police officer Derek Dike of Raleigh had a conflict the last time he heard about a Wills for Heroes clinic, but this time around he learned about the Campbell Law School event through Google and signed on back in January.
“This is a great program,” Dike said. “Thank you guys for doing it. This is something that you don’t think about, or you have every good intention, but life gets in the way.”
“We have been saying for years that we need to get this done,” added his wife, Jennifer Dike. “But we never got it done. I am happy that we are getting it done today.
“This is fantastic. It is a great service.”
Wills for Heroes is conducted through the North Carolina Bar Foundation under the direction of NCBF Pro Bono Attorney Nihad Mansour. If you have questions regarding the Wills for Heroes program, please contact Nihad at 919-677-9875 or via email at [email protected].