Recently, Emily and I were invited by Charleston Legal Services to work at a Spanish power of attorney clinic in Charleston, SC. About nine lawyers offered their time and expertise pro bono to assist undocumented and limited English proficient Spanish families in case of arrest, detention, deportation, or other incapacitating circumstance.
They met with families, many of whom had children or minor relatives who are United States citizens and provided legal advice with regard to powers of attorney. One power of attorney allowed a trusted friend or family the ability of control over property and banking. The other would serve to entrust their children and give the caretakers power to make decisions.
Obviously, decisions involving property and children are very important and serious issues that should be made. These folks don’t want to be deported or separated from their children. This process allows them to make whatever decision they feel is in the best interest of their family before a serious situation arises.
Vital matters like these should be handled by lawyers and not left up to chance. It was also wise for them to assure that every attorney was assigned a professional interpreter. Interpreters ensure accuracy in communication. Important life decisions require a clear understanding with no confusion.
It was an honor for me to work as an interpreter at that event. It is my hope that more clinics can be planned out throughout the state.