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Legal Planning Workshop Provides Free Help to Young Adults and Families

The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), in partnership with the University of Baltimore (UB) School of Law, hosted a legal planning seminar on March 9 for young adults with disabilities and their families.

To complement the seminar, 15 pro bono attorneys from the community were paired with 15 UB School of Law students to meet with the young adults and their families to discuss their legal needs and execute legal documents. Participants executed 14 advance directives, four advance directives for mental health and 14 statutory powers of attorney for financial decisions.

“An individual with a disability is an adult under Maryland law at age 18,” says MCDD Associate Director Maureen van Stone, who organized the event. “This may put parents in a bind, since they may be accustomed to making healthcare and financial decisions for their children, but are no longer legally able to do so” once a child turns 18.

“Through Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy and Law), we have seen crisis scenarios that could have been avoided with proper legal documents,” adds van Stone, who directs Project HEAL, a medical-legal partnership at MCDD that provides civil legal services to Kennedy Krieger patients and their families. “But many families cannot afford attorney’s fees or don’t know what questions to ask.” 

“There are significant future legal needs in the areas of adult guardianships, wills and special needs trusts,” she explains.

Through its partnership with UB School of Law, Project HEAL will continue to match these young adults and their families with pro bono legal services to ensure their legal needs are met.

 

MCDD Newsletter 2017: Issue Two