Pro Bono Spotlight: Chadwick McCullen

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Pro Bono Volunteer Spotlight: Chadwick McCullen

Pro Bono Project: Wills for Heroes

By Celia Pistolis

Chadwick McCullen’s pro bono work focuses on Wills for Heroes, a program that enables its volunteers to prepare essential legal documents — including wills, living wills, and powers of attorney — free of charge to North Carolina first responders (police officers, sheriff’s deputies, EMS, fire and rescue workers) and their spouses.

Register to volunteer for a Wills for Heroes clinic or find out how your organization can sponsor a clinic here.

McCullen’s work with the program began in 2010 when he volunteered at various clinics around the state.  He, along with other volunteers, would meet with first responders and their spouses, discuss their estate planning needs, and prepare the appropriate documents.  In 2016, he became a Young Lawyers Division co-chair of the project with Rebecca Rushton.  As a co-chair, his work shifted to planning the clinics (securing a location, feeding the volunteers, advertising the clinic and scheduling clinic appointments) as well as training and providing legal support for the volunteers. This year, the YLD is partnering with the NC Bar Foundation to offer Wills For Heroes clinics, and McCullen is focusing his efforts on conducting volunteer training and serving as the lead Estate Planning Practitioner on site for clinic days.

McCullen’s pro bono work has been focused on Wills For Heroes for over eight years.

“First responders provide so much of their time and often times take a great amount of personal risk for the communities they serve, all for very modest, if any, compensation,” he said. “Estate planning documents are critical for any family, but the cost can be prohibitive. I believe that the Wills for Heroes clinics provide first responders with critical planning documents that they would otherwise not obtain.”

McCullen continues to volunteer with Wills for Heroes because every client he has ever served “has expressed a great amount of gratitude after finalizing their estate planning documents… [T]he client’s expression of relief and peace of mind from knowing that they have planned for [their own death or incapacity] is very rewarding.”

McCullen urges all attorneys to take advantage of the many pro bono opportunities offered by the NCBA for its members through the NC Bar Foundation. NC Bar Foundation programs, such as Wills for Heroes, allow attorneys to find one or more pro bono projects where they can use their legal talents to help others.

McCullen is a shareholder with Young Moore and Henderson, P.A. where he focuses his practice on estate planning /wealth preservation and business law. He is a board-certified specialist in estate planning and probate law.

The NCBA salutes McCullen and the other Wills for Heroes volunteers for their pro bono work on behalf of our first responders and their spouses.

Celia Pistolis is director of litigation for Legal Aid of North Carolina and a member of the NCBA Pro Bono Committee.