Volunteers Needed to Prepare Planning Documents for Healthcare Workers

As COVID-19 cases mount in Arkansas, healthcare workers are undertaking heroic efforts to contain the disease. In the process, their health and safety are in jeopardy. As lawyers, we cannot directly assist in the fight against COVID-19. However, we can at least help offer peace of mind to those who are on the frontlines of this public health crisis by ensuring they have basic health and financial planning documents.

The Pulaski County Bar Association, the Center for Arkansas Legal Services, and Arkansas Access to Justice are partnering to offer free planning document preparation to nursing home and hospital staff in Central Arkansas. Eligible clients will be paired with volunteer attorneys who have agreed to participate in limited-scope engagements to help their clients address such issues as: “If I were to get quarantined, who will be authorized to care for my child?”; or “If I become incapacitated, who will be able to make financial decisions for me?” Attorneys will be asked to prepare up to four types of documents, including a durable power of attorney, a durable power of attorney for healthcare, a power of attorney for minor, and an advance healthcare directive. Volunteers will not be asked or expected to prepare wills.

Consistent with current social distancing protocols, no in-person consultations will be necessary; they will be handled remotely. If you are interested in helping, please register as a volunteer by clicking the “Volunteer” button below. Volunteers will be notified when they are matched with a client. The matching process will begin on April 27th and will last until May 11th.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don’t usually do estate planning work?

Estate planning experience is useful, but not required. Forms that are routinely used at estate planning clinic will be provided to volunteers, along with a prerecorded training that explains how to use the documents.

When and where will the clinic be held?

To maintain social distancing measures, this event will be completely virtual. We will recruit volunteers and sign up clients online and over the phone. As clients request help, we will match them with volunteers. Volunteers will receive contact information for their client. Volunteers will avoid any in-person interactions by using telephone or video calls to meet with their clients.  Pursuant to Executive Order 20-12, notarization can also happen via video call.

We will begin matching volunteers and clients on April 27th. Matching will stop on May 11th.

What about notarization?

Executive Order 20-12 authorizes remote notarization of documents. If you do not have a staff member who can remotely notarize documents, please indicate that on the volunteer sign-up form. We can match you with a notary who can help get the client’s documents notarized.

How many clients will I be asked to help?

When you sign up as a volunteer, you will be asked how many clients you are willing to help. You can help five clients or one. It’s up to you. Any amount of help will make a difference.

Who will be eligible for this clinic?

The clinic will be open to hospital and nursing home employees in Pulaski County, including nurses, nursing assistants, custodians, etc. At this time, doctors, nurse practitioners, senior administrators, and similar high-level staff will not be eligible.

What if I want to also prepare a will for my client?

Volunteers are not expected to prepare wills. However, at their discretion, volunteers have the option of also preparing a will for the client with whom they match. Form wills will be made available to volunteers, if requested.

Can I ethically limit the scope of my representation to simply preparing these four types of documents?

Yes. Limited-scope representation is authorized by Arkanas Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2(c). You will be providing short-term limited legal services under the auspices of a Rule 6.5 program sponsored by non-profit legal organizations. This minimizes conflict-of-interest issues (other than known conflicts). While not technically required in this context, clients will be required to execute limited-scope representation agreements in which they will acknowledge your work for them will be limited (at most) to the four specified tasks. This agreement will be executed during the intake process. So, you will not be responsible for handling the limited-scope agreement.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions about this event, please contact Jordan Bates-Rogers by using the contact us form.

Where can I find the CLE training for this clinic?

The CLE training can be found here. You will need to register as a volunteer before you can access the CLE. The confirmation page on the registration form will provide you with the password.

I am a frontline healthcare worker. How can I apply for help?

Please visit this page and review the FAQs to see if you qualify for this program. Thank you for your service to our community!