TYLER, Texas (KLTV) – Ahead of Veterans Day, a few East Texas organizations have teamed up to offer free legal advice to veterans. On Thursday, veterans have the opportunity to participate in a free legal phone line.
This is a community service program where volunteer attorneys will offer free advice regarding civil legal matters to Smith County veterans. This program is a partnership between the Smith County Bar Foundation, Lone Star Legal Aid, and Smith County Bar Association.
“There’s one thing that will get private attorneys involved in volunteerism and that’s helping the veterans. They just (say), ‘yes, of course, of course I will,’” said attorney Dana Bias.
The purpose is to help veterans get advice for legal matters regardless of their income.
Bias said some of the most common calls they get are for family law. Others can advise on wills, evictions, and more.
Mark Shaw is the community engagement manager at CampV and said programs like this are beneficial to veterans. Whether it’s criminal matters, or just life happens, he said any kind of advice and financial aid is helpful.
“Let’s just say you’re overseas, and I’ve had to handle Red Cross messages. Bam, one of your parents died, or your spouse has died, or somebody in your family has died. Now all of a sudden they have a will that needs to be attended to,” Shaw said. “Worst case scenario, again, that service member gets deceased. It’s very important that your legal representation has proper paperwork, in line, with proper representatives so that, one, the burden of having to go through all those legal red tape things, they can be minimized and take that weight off the veteran’s shoulders.”
Bias said their job is to engage private attorneys to help them on their mission because there’s a large population living in poverty in Texas, and the private attorneys can help them.
“So anybody with any kind of problem, any kind of income level can apply and expect a call from an attorney, one of our volunteer attorneys in our Smith County volunteer attorney program for a brief consult,” Bias said.
The free legal advice phone line is going on tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To register, visit the Smith County Bar Foundation website.
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