Parents of children with disabilities face numerous difficulties in seeking to make provisions for their children. Among other things, they want to ensure their child is financially secure after they are gone. Keeping this in mind, iProbono launched a series of workshops last year, aimed at increasing awareness around securing the financial rights of vulnerable beneficiaries through estate planning.
The initiative was received positively and we got requests from organisations working with vulnerable beneficiaries to conduct more such workshops in different cities in India. Encouraged by such a response, we organised three more such workshops in Bengaluru, Pune, and Mumbai in the first quarter of this year. Similar to last year, these workshops addressed succession planning and answered legal queries of parents and guardians of children with autism and developmental disabilities.
The workshops are done in collaboration with civil society organisations (CSO) working with vulnerable beneficiaries and lawyers from iProbono’s legal network. Typically in a workshop, the CSO’s role is to help spread the word among parents and families of vulnerable beneficiaries from within their networks and invite them to attend the workshop – where lawyers from iProbono’s network provide information, share material and answer their questions about estate planning.
In Bengaluru, the workshop was conducted in partnership with Take a Break Respite Care and J. Sagar Associates (JSA). With a gathering of close to 80 enthusiastic parents, the workshop was well received by both the partner organisation and JSA, and we have already scheduled a follow-up workshop with them to take place on April 9 this year. The workshop in Pune was in partnership with Social Awareness Advocacy & Development (SAAD) Foundation and AZB & Partners. The presenter was Mr. Anand Shah from AZB & Partners. More than 100 parents turned up for the workshop from Pune and its outskirts. In Mumbai, the workshop was held in partnership with Social Outreach Cell, St. Peter’s Church and Mehta & Padamsey law firm. The presentation was led by Mr. Siddharth Mehta, the managing partner of Mehta & Padamsey. The workshop saw a turnout of 50 parents.
The presenters informed participants about the different methods of succession planning, outlining the differences between a Will and Private Trust, and encouraging families to think about their own needs for succession planning. They also answered various questions from the audience on various topics, including:
- Guardianship related matters
- The importance of appointing reliable trustees and executors and,
- Specifics about individual family situations
Parents also learned more about concepts like Probate and Registration of Wills as well as the possibility of setting up Private Living Trusts. Overall, families left the workshop determined and empowered to ensure that the financial interests of their children are protected. iProbono India plans to continue organising more forums like these in future to inform and protect interests of vulnerable beneficiaries and their parents.
If you’re an NGO or organisation working to protect the interest of vulnerable beneficiaries and wish to help us organise a similar workshop or collaborate in other ways, then tweet to us at @iProbono or send an inquiry e-mail to email@example.com.
Swati Jain – Senior Communications and Advocacy Officer, iProbono