Attorney Bill Beck Receives Award for 11 Years of Contined Volunteerism With Senior Citizens in Davidson County And Its Surrounding Areas
INGLEWOOD-NASHVILLE PRESS, April 20, 2014: Wednesday, April 9, at 10AM, FiftyForward Madison Station at 301 Madison Street hosted its annual brunch to honor a team of community-minded volunteers which, for the 11th year, included Inglewood-based Attorney Bill Beck. (Pictured at right with Kelsey Mahaffey, Center Director)
FiftyForward Madison Station opened in 1996 in response to a documented community need for a senior center, and it currently provides innovative programs and services for 50-plus-years and older adults. During the brunch, Beck was awarded a ‘Best Problem-Solver’ plaque in appreciation for the hundreds of hours of legal guidance he has given to the senior community served by this non-profit facility.
Since 2003, Beck has donated a half day of non-billable hours (called pro bono as derived from Latin meaning ‘for the public good’) every second Wednesday of each month to help those individuals who might not otherwise afford professional counsel. Regarding his reasoning for volunteering his time and talents to this select demographic, Beck explains, “Working with senior men and women gets me out into the community in a meaningful way.”
“As an attorney,” Beck says, “it is easy to get caught up in the intensity of my regular day-to-day work. Serving people who really need me and the skills I can provide reminds me that, at the end of the day, I can, and do, make a positive difference in the lives of real people.”
Those ‘real’ people number approximately 150 who live in Madison, East Nashville Inglewood, Old Hickory, and Goodlettsville, and they certainly do benefit from Beck’s legal expertise. “As a Certified Trial Attorney, providing services to the seniors of FiftyForward-Madison is not too far afield from what I do in normal practice. I handle all different types of civil cases for individual persons, not large insurance companies or corporations.”
The majority of the cases the seniors bring to Beck me are related to estate and probate matters, including questions ranging from ‘What can I do about people who trespass on my property?’ to ‘How do I deal with issues regarding my property when my children are pre-deceased?’ However, once in a while, he encounters a legal issue which some folks might be surprised to learn can affect the senior population.
Beck remembers a particular case in 2007 that involved FiftyForward member and fellow volunteer, John Young. Young had been widowed almost 40 years when he found love again. Young explains, “I was about to get married, and my soon-to-be-wife’s family requested that she have a pre-nuptial agreement before entering into a new marriage.” In order for the pre-nup to be enforceable, it had to be drawn up by independent legal counsel. Beck prepared the agreement, reviewed it with Young, who approved it, and it was then notarized to become legally binding. Beck remembers, “The professional advice I gave John saved him hundreds of dollars,” a statement to which Young adds, “I would see Bill Beck even if I had to pay him because he is MY lawyer.”
Though the essence of pro bono is giving and expecting nothing in return,” says Beck, “the reality is that my volunteer work with FiftyForward seniors gives me the gift of exposure to new perspectives on numerous social and cultural problems. That can only help me to be, not only a better attorney, but a more informed person.”
As for continuing his commitment to making the lives of senior men and women better, Beck says, “It breaks my heart to see the elderly men and women who have to use credit cards just to buy medicines and food, or who have to forego seeing a doctor when they are sick because they cannot afford the medical costs. That just should not be happening in the richest country in the world. I believe that we should do all we can to see that our seniors are valued, and if my monthly contribution helps drive that emphasis home, I plan on doing this for another 11 years, and more.”