Legal advice coming to Elizabethton Senior Center Tuesday

Published 8:17 am Monday, March 4, 2019

As people age into their senior years, they begin making sure their children and grandchildren know exactly how to distribute their belongings and other assets correctly, but it can be stressful and even confusing for many to truly understand what they need and need not do, and all too often, misconceptions and misinformation spread as quickly as real knowledge and advice.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee is bringing its Tennessee Senior Law Alliance to Elizabethton early next week, bringing with it the chance to both clear up misconceptions about legal documents and future-proof things that matter to Elizabethton’s senior citizens.

Haley Griffen, Outreach Coordinator for the alliance, said this is the first time the program has reached Elizabethton.

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“One of our attorneys will be there with an educational presentation,” Griffen said. “They will be talking about wills, powers of attorney and what each document does.”

In addition to a presentation about these legal forms and what to expect, the organization will also be bringing mobile printers, so those in attendance can print out the necessary forms on the spot.

She said the opportunity to get this information for free is rare.

“Private attorneys can cost at least $800, if not more,” Griffen said.

The Tennessee Senior Law Alliance provides a number of qualifying senior citizens with comprehensive services and legal assistance.

The program launched in April of last year with a state-level grant for three years, received from the Elder Trust Settlement, in which the state recovered $40 million from two brothers who conned senior citizens using promises of legal assistance.

To qualify, the person must be at least 60 years of age, live in one of the 26 designated counties in Tennessee, have a legal issue that fits within their sphere of expertise and have a “low income.” For single-residents, this threshold is roughly $2,000 a month.

“A lot of seniors have misconceptions about these things. They hear they cannot disinherit your children, for example,” Griffen said.

She said she has worked with seniors for a long time, and that passion for service extends into programs like this.

“I volunteered at nursing homes in middle school,” she said. “I have a heart for seniors.”

The session will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at the Elizabethton Senior Center, located at 428 East G St.