Terrence Franklin Discusses Expanding Access to Estate Planning Services in LA’s Minority Communities with 2UrbanGirls​

A champion for closing the gap for minority communities to do estate planning, Partner Terrence Franklin was interviewed by 2UrbanGirls on his efforts to establish the Bet Tzedek/UCLA Fellowship for Equity in Trusts and Estates as well as Los Angeles County’s program offering free estate planning services to residents.

According to a report from Consumer Reports, only 23% of Black Americans and 18% of Hispanic/Latinx Americans reported having a will. The L.A. County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) says the goal of its Leaving a Legacy program is to protect County residents, particularly those with an asset such as a single-family home by developing a will, trust, estate plan, or other provisions for the distribution of the resident’s money and property.

“No one lives forever, so taking steps to plan in advance is just a reasonable way to acknowledge that reality,” Franklin said. “Furthermore, it is surprising how often people have accidents or illnesses and conditions which leave them disabled. Planning for the reality of death, and the possibility of a disabling illness or accident, is just a smart thing to do.

Franklin has written many articles discussing the need for estate planning services, particularly in the African American community, which led to him collaborating with a lawyer on a large-scale program.

“When another lawyer in the trust and estate community, Allan Cutrow, read one of my articles, he reached out to me. The two of us started talking about how to get more Black people doing estate planning,” Franklin commented. “We connected with Bet Tzedek Legal Services and UCLA and worked together to create a Fellowship for Equity in Trusts and Estates.  We raised money to fund the hiring of a UCLA grad to work as a Fellow at Bet Tzedek on policy matters, and to help get more training for Black estate planners, and to increase community awareness of this important service.”

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