P.E.I. lawyers offer free wills to low-income Islanders

Project from group of young lawyers aims to help people avoid court process after a loved one dies.

Project from group of young lawyers aims to help improve access to justice

A group of young barristers on P.E.I. is offering low-income Islanders a chance to have their wills done for free.

"People don't want to have to deal with a court process when they're grieving the loss of a loved one," Meaghan Hughes tells Island Morning. Hughes chairs the young lawyers section of Canadian Bar Association on P.E.I.

Meaghan Hughes says the lawyers want to help Islanders without the money to draft a will. (Matt Rainnie/CBC )

"It's really important to tie up those loose ends at the front end and not put your family thought that."  

So far, 25 lawyers have volunteered their time to help 50 low-income Islanders complete a will. The law firms the lawyers work for have also agreed to offer the resources needed to complete the work.

The lawyers have teamed up with the Community Legal Information Association for the project. It will take in applications and then decide who will receive the free legal work. 

"If you have real property, if you have children, it's really essential to go get advice on how you should manage your estate planning," Hughes said.   

Pro bono work to mark Law Day 

Hughes said the average cost of a will on P.E.I. ranges between $250 and $400. However, the costs involved in a court dispute are often more expensive.

They're offering the free service to mark Law Day, which happens in mid-April across Canada. This year's theme is "Access to Justice" and the young lawyers feel the will-writing service is a way give some Islanders access to the legal system at no cost. 

The deadline for applications is March 25.  Applications and more information is available from the Community Legal Information Association.