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Make-a-Will-Sunday to Provide Free Wills to the Community

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

  • Janna Dailey
  • Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.

Reports state that 80 to 90 percent of African Americans do not “go the extra mile” to protect their wealth by making a simple will!!!!

A group of Oklahoma City ministers have come together to develop a campaign to encourage the protection of Black family wealth through the making of wills. These ministers are being spearheaded by Reverend Lee Cooper of Prospect Baptist Church and will include at least eleven other churches from the Oklahoma City Eastside.

The purpose of the campaign is to educate families about the probate process, to promote bequests and legacy-giving. This program will run during and after church services in a series of sessions during March and April – leading up to a Make-A-Will Workshop on Saturday, 24 April. The program will culminate with each church providing members with free wills or access to attorneys to assist with will preparation.

Churches currently participating are Allen Chapel AME (Rev. Harvey Potts), Avery Chapel AME (Rev. James Jerry McLaughlin), Fairview Baptist (Rev. John Reed), Christ Church (Rev. Krizzo Meadows), Greater Cleaves CME (Rev. Bobby Best), Progressive Baptist (Rev. Larry Foster), Prospect Baptist (Rev. Lee Cooper), Quayle UME (Rev. Victor McCullough), St James AME (Rev. A.L. Williams), St John Christian Missionary Baptist (Rev. Major Jemison), and Wildewood Christian (Rev. William Simms).

The effort will be supported by attorneys from the Oklahoma City Association of Black Attorneys, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma as well as the Senior Law Resource Center, the Southwestern Foundation, and law students and administrators from Oklahoma City University School of Law and the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Attorneys and students from these organizations have volunteered to help prepare simple wills and provide will and probate advice to selected members of each church in events, ending with a Make-A-Will Saturday on April 24 at the Oklahoma City Langston University Center.

The goal is to develop recurring support a program for African American community members to help them with their preservation of wealth. All of the church pastors have agreed to promote the effort and with the assistance of community volunteer attorneys many of the Eastside Oklahoma City community will have free will services and advice on bequests and legacy giving.

Participating pastors will be making sermons and announcements; they will host planning sessions and have information packets in their churches. Attorneys and law students will give guidance on completing wills and understanding the probate process. They will also provide legal support in preparing simple wills. More complicated situations such as estate planning, living wills, and trusts will be offered referrals.

The events are centered around three upcoming dates:

Mar 13: Preparatory Session for Pastors, Attorneys and Law Students.
Apr 18: Pastors and Coordinators will have Preservation of Wealth
Educational Messages and support booths at churches.
 Apr 24: Free Will Preparation Session at Langston Univ. Center.

Points of Contact:
Col. Stanley L. Evans
Mr. Leonard Benson
Rev. Lee Cooper


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