Legal clinic stresses importance of estate planning

Charles Warner Editor

October 24, 2013

UNION — A clinic to discuss end of life legal issues was success according to its organizer who said more such clinics could be held in the future.

The clinic, which was held Tuesday afternoon in the meeting room of the Union County Museum, was organized by Diane McCree, program assistant for the Catawba Area Agency on Aging. It was sponsored by the agency in cooperation with the S.C. Bar Association.

McCree said the purpose of the clinic was to provide the public with information on the various aspect of end of life legal issues and how to prepare for them. She called the clinic a success because the approximately 10 people who attended not only listened to the initial presentation by Clinton attorney A. “Sandy” Cruickshanks IV, but responded with questions and comments afterwards.

“Everything went great,” McCree said. “It went great because the audience gave us feedback.”

End of life legal issues covered by the clinic included wills, power of attorney, living wills, and do not resuscitate orders.

McCree said it is vital that end of life legal issues be dealt with in advance, especially the making of a will, to spare the family of the deceased the problems that can result from the lack of a will.

“People come to the clinic to learn about estate planning because many people pass away without having a will in place,” McCree said. “It causes a lot of headaches for the family, a lot of undue burdens. Often the state will have to come in and divvy up your estate for you when you don’t have a will.”

To help prevent this, McCree said the agency, through the legal clinics and other efforts, attempts to impress upon seniors and their caregivers the importance of estate planning.

McCree said that she hopes to organize more such legal clinics in the future, possibly on a quarterly basis, to provide the public with more information on end of life legal issues.

The Catawba Area Agency on Aging serves Chester, Lancaster, Union and York counties. It works to help plan, coordinate and advocate for the development of community services that meet the needs of older adults. The agency seeks to help senior citizens and their caregivers make informed decisions about aging well.

The organization is private, not-for-profit and devotes all of its time to issues related to aging.

For more information about the Catawaba Area Agency on Aging go to www.catawba — aging.com

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com