Modified: April 7, 2021 12:43pm

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

BUFFALO, April 6, 2021— Chair of the Erie County Legislature April Baskin encourages all Erie County residents to utilize the free will-drafting services being provided by the Erie County Legislature Vacant & Abandoned Property Community Resource Team (EC VAP Team), which is staffed by the Western New York Law Center (WNYLC). WNYLC has spent years addressing foreclosures and abandoned property issues across Erie County in upstate New York.


Thanks to funding from the Erie County Legislature, and with the help of Columbia Law School, the EC VAP Team is launching the “Generational Wealth Project” to provide free will-drafting services to residents of Erie County. The team will work with local homeowners to protect assets that may otherwise be lost due to events like a tax foreclosure or property decay. As such, the project can also be viewed as a vacant and abandoned property prevention tool.


“As we continue to work on strengthening the financial independence and economic well-being of families who are living paycheck to paycheck, we are better understanding the gaps in protections from poverty some families are missing,” said Legislator Baskin. “One of those gaps is having a will. This clinic will assist families to obtain a will and help them get started with estate planning. These tools are essential to developing and maintain wealth across generations for families and everyone should have access to these tools, regardless of your income.”


Through this project, low- to moderate-income families will be able to plan for the future and ensure assets such as real property and other possessions remain in the family for generations. “A will gives you peace of mind in knowing that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes. You can protect the wealth and sweat equity you have placed into your home for decades. Most importantly, will drafting allows you to provide for those you love and care about after you can no longer be with them,” said Jordan Zeranti, Esq. and Managing Attorney for the Vacant & Abandoned Property Program.





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If important documents like a title or deed are unclear about who the rightful owner is, it becomes difficult to preserve or transfer your home and other assets the way you want after your death. This project is intended to be a community resource through which WNYLC attorneys can interact virtually with clients to give advice and assistance in drafting wills.


“If we had only two words to describe our work with WNYLC on the Generational Wealth Project, those words would be fulfilling and impactful. We are honored to have the opportunity to assist WNYLC in protecting homeownership and generational wealth in under-resourced areas of Erie County. This project fills an important hole in the fabric of free legal services at a very important time.” – Columbia Law School Lawyering in the Digital Age Clinic


The official launch date is Tuesday, April 6th, 2021. The video release can be found on our YouTube channel: EC VAP Team.


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