Dear Family, Friends & Colleagues,


As we leave Autumn's colorful glow and head into Winter, we say goodbye to November, and take a moment to remember the special occasions within.  In addition to honoring the bravery and sacrifices of our military members on Veteran's Day, November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month.  To mark these occasions, our articles discuss the role of  family caregivers, and their potential impact on receiving VA and Medicaid benefits, as well as different strategies for maintaining Medicaid eligibility. In our Firm Spotlight this month, we feature Alyssa Wiseman, our Intake Coordinator - who we like to think of as the voice of Severns Associates - and an article about what to expect when you come to our office for an appointment.  If you are part of a family which includes an Alzheimer's patient, please follow the link titled Holidays and Alzheimer's Families, for good advice from the Alzheimer's Association to make celebrations a little more enjoyable for all.
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. 
We welcome the opportunity to serve the people you care about.  Click on the "Forward to a Friend" button at the top of the page to send this newsletter to someone who will benefit from our insights. If you are a facebook user, please like us on our facebook page.

Finally, from all of us, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving, and thank you for being a part of our practice. The vintage card below seemed especially relevant for an Elder Law firm - we hope you enjoy the sentiment as much as we did!



Severns Associates, P.C.


Elder Law News from Severns Associates, PC 

November 2013  



The Role of Family Caregivers


Now, more than ever, the importance and role of family caregivers is growing.  There are approximately 90 million family caregivers in the U.S. today who are caring for a loved one with a chronic condition, disability, special needs, or the frailties of old age, and those numbers are growing daily. Without their strength, courage and commitment in providing long-term patient care, there would be an impossible void to fill. 


These individuals go about their caregiving largely unrecognized and uncompensated.  At Severns Associates, we strive to bring attention to these unsung family heroes, and use their actions not only to assist their loved ones in daily care, but in qualification for government benefit programs such as Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance.  



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Staying Eligible for Medicaid After the Death of a Spouse


When one member of a couple moves to a nursing home, we expect that spouse will be the first to die, but this isn't always the case. What happens if a Medicaid recipient's spouse dies first? If planning steps aren't taken, the death of a spouse can affect the nursing home resident's assets and eligibility for Medicaid. A Special Needs Trust for the spouse can protect costs.



Be Aware of the Dangers of Joint Accounts 


Many people believe that joint accounts are a good way to avoid probate and transfer money to loved ones.  But while joint accounts can be useful in certain circumstances, they can have dire consequences if not used properly.  Adding a loved one to a bank account can expose your account to the loved one's creditors as well as affect Medicaid planning.




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Is an Electronic Will Valid? 


Is a will created on a tablet computer valid? An Ohio judge recently answered that question in the affirmative, but most states have not addressed the issue. As electronic devices become more commonplace, this question will inevitably arise more frequently.



Your First Appointment with Severns Associates, P.C.


We are often asked about how individuals become Severns Associates clients.  We have prepared this brief article to explain the initial consultation process so you may better understand what occurs during our initial meeting, what information is necessary for us to properly address your concerns, and our fees.  If at any time you have questions about becoming a Severns Associates client, please feel free to contact our office.




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In This Issue
The Role of Family Caregivers
Staying Eligible for Medicaid After the Death of a Spouse
Be Aware of the Dangers of Joint Acounts
Is an Electronic Will Valid?
Your First Appointment with Severns Associates



Quick Links

Firm Spotlight
Alyssa J. Wiseman
This month, we shine our spotlight on Alyssa J. Wiseman, our Intake Coordinator.
Chances are, when you call our office, it will be Alyssa who will answer the phone.  She is our primary line of contact for new clients, and helps to field questions about our firm and set client appointments.  Alyssa is also very active in preparing Medicaid and VA applications and Guardianship reporting.
In her personal life, Alyssa lives in McCordsville with her husband Brandon. They are the proud  parents of 2 dogs, Maggie and London. She is a regular blogger for Disney and also enjoys serving as wedding coordinator for her church.
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? 


Court Rules Surviving Spouses of Reverse Mortgage Holders Cannot Lose Homes

A federal court has ruled that banks can't foreclose on surviving spouses of reverse mortgage holders when the spouses can't pay off the mortgage. The ruling should lead to regulatory changes that will help surviving spouses stay in their homes even if their names aren't on the reverse mortgage. 
Best Law Firm 2013 
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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