Dear Family, Friends & Colleagues,


October brings us the beautiful fall colors of Indiana, children's' excitement as Halloween arrives, and National Special Needs Law Month.  We feature Attorney Ken Bennett, Severns Associates' Of Counsel attorney, who spends much of his time performing pro-bono work at his foundation, the Center for At-Risk Elders (CARE) and shares his insight into Guardianships in the lead article. This month is also National Residents' Rights Month, so we feature an article about Elder Abuse, and the difference between neglect and abuse. And, as news of escalating costs of Long Term Care and Long Term Care Insurance make the news, we help explain some of the nuances to you.
Our attorneys view practicing Elder Law as a calling, and we are delighted to be able to assist you in whatever services you need.  Whether you are visiting us for the first time, or coming back to update your plans, we make every effort to ensure that you are a priority. If you are a facebook user, please like us on our new facebook page.
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Severns Associates, P.C.


Elder Law News from Severns Associates, PC
October 2013  



The Rise of the Guardians


Apart from being the title of a popular DreamWorks animated film, "The Rise of the Guardians" could describe the coming growth in the number of guardianships in Indiana, and in the complexity of guardianship practice for attorneys. Two forces are at play. First is the sheer numbers of baby-boomers entering that age bracket where the need for guardianship increases. Second is the growing phenomenon of elder financial exploitation and abuse at the hands of family members or others charged with caring for Indiana's elders.


Estate Planning in the Age of Stepfamilies

Helping blended families plan is a challenge we enjoy in our practice. Failure to properly plan can easily deprive one set of children from any inheritance, and can cause much frustration and heart-break. More than 4 in 10 Americans have at least one step-relative in their family - either a stepparent, a step or half sibling or a stepchild -- according to the Pew Research Center. The National Center for Family and Marriage Research estimates that about one-third of all weddings in America create stepfamilies.


 Read more


Surviving Dementia through Laughter


Mark Twain wrote, "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand."


Professionals across the medical field agree that laughter is an effective medicine. It's been shown to improve connections with others, increase blood flow to protect the heart, boost immune cells to fight infection, decrease stress through the discharging of physical and emotional tension, and trigger release of endorphins to relieve pain. But can the effects of laughter extend beyond the basic health benefits? Could it be used as a treatment for even the most devastating and incurable diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's?


Should You Buy Long-Term Care Insurance with a Long Elimination Period, or Make Alternate Plans?


Long term care insurance costs are rising, with premiums up 20% from 2012. If you have $500,000 to set aside for long term care costs, however, you can probably afford to self-insure. If you do not have amount of money to spend, there are other alternatives. Most people are deterred from buying long-term care insurance due to the high cost of the premiums (and the hope that they'll never need it). Choosing a longer "elimination period" is one way to reduce premiums.




Speak Out Against Elder Abuse


October is National Residents' Rights Month, a national effort to celebrate, honor, educate, and protect those living in long-term care homes and their families. The goal is to help not only the residents themselves but their families and communities recognize the rights of long-term care residents and learn how to speak up if they or someone they love are not receiving these rights. Each year the Department of Aging releases a theme in connection with National Residents' Rights Month. This year's theme is "Speak Out Against Elder Abuse!"



Can Life Insurance Affect Your Medicaid Eligibility?


In order to qualify for Medicaid, a single person can't have more than $1,500 in countable assets (in most states). Many people forget about life insurance when calculating their assets, but depending on the type of life insurance and the value of the policy, it can count as an asset.




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In This Issue
The Rise of the Guardians
Estate Planning in the Age of Stepfamilies
Surviving Dementia Through Laughter
Should You Buy Long Term Care Insurance with a Long Elimination Period, or Make Alternate Plans?
Speak Out Against Elder Abuse
Can Life Insurance Affect Your Medicaid Eligibility?



Quick Links
Best Law Firm 2013 
 Lawyer of the Year detail
Firm Spotlight
H. Kennard Bennett
H. Kennard Bennett

This month, we shine our spotlight on attorney H. Kennard Bennett, who is Of Counsel to the firm.
While Ken still maintains an active law practice, his primary focus of late has been in the Non-Profit sector, where he has created and directs the Center for At-Risk Elders (CARE). This charity focuses on meeting the needs of those who need Guardianship, but can't afford one through traditional means. 
Ken and his team assemble and train volunteer guardians to make a difference  where previously there was little or no assistance available.
Please read Ken's article on the state of Guardianships in this month's newsletter.

In his personal life, Ken lives in Indianapolis with his wife Margaret. They are the  proud  parents of 2 children.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, Severns Associates can help.

-Has a family member been diagnosed with a mentally or physically debilitating disorder such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, stroke or a decline in functional capacity?


-Is a family member isolated due to the recent death of a spouse, or have family that either lives too far away or is too busy to provide adequate care?

-Is a family member soon to be discharged into a care facility or currently receiving in-home care?

-Does a family member have a variety of healthcare providers and need coordination and advocacy for quality care?

-Does a family member seem unusually concerned about costs of medication and services, indicating he or she may be having financial troubles?

-Does a family member have assets that fall between $50,000 and $400,000 - enough to finance a short stay in a care facility but not enough for an extended stay?

-Does a family member have a spouse whose financial needs must be considered in light of a family member's medical condition? 


About Our Law Firm
Severns Associates, P.C. is an elder law firm that has been practicing for over 30 years, and is regarded as one of the most experienced elder law firms in the Indianapolis region.  We focus on helping families work together without conflict to plan for both immediate and future needs. 
Our services include:
Severns Associates, PC
10293 N. Meridian Street Suite 150
Indianapolis, Indiana 46290