August, 2017

Dear Friend:

Today is National Senior Citizens Day—a day to support, honor and show appreciation to our seniors and to recognize their achievements. At the WBF, we support senior citizens everyday through our Elder Law Project.

If you’ve ever helped an aging loved one navigate healthcare decisions, manage their finances, or make end-of-life plans, you know that making these decisions can be complicated, and at times, heart wrenching. For low-income seniors without extensive support networks, these decisions become even more difficult. At the WBF, we help low-income seniors maintain personal autonomy and peace of mind as they age by matching them with a volunteer attorney who works with them to prepare legal documents (wills, power of attorney, healthcare proxies, living wills, etc.) to ensure their wishes are clearly articulated and legally binding.

Elder Law Project Coordinator, Elizabeth Yows-Johnson explains, “Many of the seniors we work with are single, divorced, or widowed. They don’t have family members or other individuals in their life to help them. Many are not comfortable using computers and cannot research this information online. When I go to a senior center or low-income senior housing community to talk about the help we offer seniors, I’m often the first person to have spoken to them about these important matters.”

The WBF delivers educational outreach to more than 100 seniors each year, providing them with resources to navigate their healthcare and financial decisions. We prepare vital end-of-life documents for more than 50 seniors each year.

George & Marcy: Peace of Mind


George was in the hospital suffering with advanced stages of terminal cancer. His capacity was decreasing quickly and he was unable to manage his own finances. There was an error with his social security benefits resulting in an underpayment. As a result, he didn’t have the funds to pay his bills and the costs associated with his medical care. His wife Marcy tried to help. From George’s bedside, Marcy spent hours on the phone trying to sort out the problem, but because she hadn’t filled out the correct paper work to be appointed as George’s representative, the Social Security Administration could not speak to her about George’s benefits.

Frustrated, stressed, and heartbroken over her husband’s diagnosis, Marcy called the WBF for help. WBF volunteer attorney Wendy L. Schwartz sprang into action. Knowing the urgency of the matter, Wendy arranged to meet George immediately at the hospital. Within 48 hours, Wendy had prepared documents granting Marcy power of attorney for George. She also contacted the Social Security Administration and took the proper steps to authorize Marcy to manage George’s social security benefits on his behalf. With the help of the WBF, George and Marcy were able to deal with their social security matter, avoiding a financial crisis. More importantly, Marcy was able to spend her time caring for George, rather than navigating the Social Security Administration on her own.

Wendy Schwartz

Wendy Schwartz, Elder Law Project Volunteer Attorney


Thank you to Our Capacity Building Partners:

Wolf Greenfield






Additional Thanks to Our Corporate Partner:

The Women's Bar Foundation is dedicated to ensuring access to justice for low-income women. We create a community committed to providing free legal assistance to low-income women and their families.
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