If you don’t have a lawyer, you are pro se (“for oneself”). Being pro se means you are your own lawyer. You are expected to follow all court rules and procedures. You must be informed and prepared. Being uninformed and unprepared may cause you irreparable harm. Check out your court rules and look for help at your local self help desk. Consider finding a lawyer for the limited purpose of reviewing papers or coaching you through the process.
Did you know that if you are a police officer, firefighter, or other first responder, you may be able to get free estate planning services? Inspired by the events of September 11, 2001, the Wills for Heroes Foundation was established to provide first responders and their spouses with simple estate planning services. The American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division has selected the Wills for Heroes Foundation for its 2007-2008 national public service project and several state bar associations have started Wills for Heroes programs. Check with your state bar association for more information. For information on Minnesota’s Wills for Heroes program, check out the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Wills for Heroes page.
If you haven’t already, check out the various brochures published by the Minnesota Attorney General, available on their website in PDF format. Many of these brochures address some sort of scam (i.e. employment scams). There are brochures on credit and debt issues, buying, selling, and leasing cars, and landlord/tenant or homeowner issues. There are also brochures on health care and legal issues. Of particular interest is the Probate and Planning Guide, which provides a lot of good information on wills, probate, health care directives, powers of attorney, living trusts, and guardianships.