Severns Associates, P.C.
10293 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46290
(317) 817-0300
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Elder Law News

May 2015
Dear Friends, Family and Colleagues:

Welcome to our May newsletter!  This month recognizes several different groups: our mothers, our elders, and our fallen soldiers. For many, Memorial Day has come to represent the kick-off of summer, a season of barbecue, beaches and vacations. But the original intent behind the holiday, officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868, was to set aside time to pause and remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our nation. 

The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it. 
- Thucydides, Greek Historian and Author, 460 - 395 BC 

May is also Mother's Day, Older Americans Month, and National Elder Law Month.  Our lawns are greening, our flowers are budding, and many a garden-lover is beaming.

"The unmulched garden looks to me like some naked thing which for one reason or another would be better off with a few clothes on.
-  Ruth Stout

"Sweet May hath come to love us,
Flowers, trees, their blossoms don;
And through the blue heavens above us
The very clouds move on."
-  Heinrich Heine, Book of Songs

"It's spring fever.... You don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"
-  Mark Twain

Our first article provides information about the often misunderstood federal gift taxes. In recognition of Memorial Day, we offer an article that provides more information about pension benefits available to eligible veterans and their surviving spouses.  We also offer an article about things you should watch out for this summer when it comes to offers from outside sources. And last, but not least, as has become standard in our newsletter since the road construction outside our windows began, an update on the progress of US-31 and what you can expect when trying to get to our office. Please be aware that the bulk of the project has shifted south, so expect higher traffic in the area between 126th Street and 96th Street, and be sure to allow extra time for unexpected delays.


Please note that with the change in formatting of our newsletter for better viewing on cellphones and tablets, our "Useful Links" section now follows our articles, and gives you helpful information about planning for pets in your estate, updates coming to Medicare cards, some thoughts for celebrating the upcoming Father's Day when Dad has dementia, and how we can better care for our family caregivers.


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.  


If you are part of an organization that is looking for a speaker, our attorneys are happy to share their knowledge with the community.  Contact Amy Cuomo at our office for more information.



Severns Associates, P.C.


Gift Taxes - How Much Can I Give Away? 

A question often asked by our clients is "How much can I give away before I have to worry about gift taxes?" Gift taxes are confusing to most people. But the reality is that unless you are extremely wealthy, you probably don't have to worry about them. Most people have heard that making a gift of up to $14,000 per year if OK. The problem is that this common understanding is wrong. Let's explore some details.


Veterans Administration Pension Benefits


The Veterans' Administration (VA) provides a monthly pension for qualified wartime veterans or their surviving spouses who are unable to work due to either a non-service connected disability or age.  The pension provided to a surviving spouse is called a "death pension."  In order to be eligible for the pension, the veteran or veteran's spouse must meet the basic eligibility, disability, and financial need tests.


Read more 

Mary and Joe
Things to Be Aware of This Summer

There are a number of misleading offers and outright scams by phone and mail/e-mail in our area currently, largely targeted at senior citizens. Remember that you should never give your personal information to someone who calls you over the phone. Anyone who calls or emails you pretending to be a relative, or pretending to be helping a relative in need, asking for money to be wired or sent on a debit card, is not being honest. You have every right to hang up the phone and call the police.


US-31 Traffic Update


Right outside our front door, US-31/Meridian Street in Hamilton County is undergoing a transformation to a freeway.  Plan for delays, as the area from 96th Street past 126th Street will be under construction this year. Later this Summer, 103rd street, where our office is located, will no longer intersect with US-31/Meridian Street and our location will be accessed via Pennsylvania Street. The project is projected to be completed by the end of 2015. 


In addition, Pennsylvania Street just south of 116th street is currently closed for construction, so please avoid that area.

If you are traveling to us from the South, you might consider using the alternate routes of College to Pennsylvania Avenue, or Spring Mill to 103rd Street.  106th Street  runs between Keystone and Michigan Roads and is a good alternate route as well.


We will keep you updated with more changes as they occur, but in the meantime, you can continue to access our office from any direction. For more information about this project, visit Hamilton County's New US-31 website.


Community Events


The Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter has partnered with the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)  for programs designed for early-stage Alzheimer's individuals

Meet Me at IMA


Persons with dementia will have the opportunity for them to participate in a facilitated conversation of artworks in the IMA collection with their care partner, family, or friends. The art conversation is facilitated by trained IMA docents. The program meets every fourth Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 4000 N Michigan Road, Indianapolis, IN 46208. A limited number of spots are available, and registration is required. To register, call the Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter at 1-800-272-3900. Please prepare to check in 15 minutes early.


Upcoming Dates:

Jun. 23, 2 to 4 p.m.

Make Me at IMA


Persons with dementia will have the opportunity to create works of art and express their creativity. The instructor will guide individuals through each project, encouraging those to express themselves. Classes will be two hours and limited to 15 people. Care partners may choose to remain with their loved one or enjoy the museum and café at their leisure. To register, call the Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter at 1-800-272-3900.

Upcoming Dates:

Jun. 2, 10 am-12 pm 



Musical Moments


The Alzheimer's Association Greater Indiana Chapter has partnered with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to offer participants the opportunity to engage through music. Every show begins at 11 a.m. (except for those marked), but participants and their care partners are encouraged to come and enjoy coffee and pastries prior to the start of the show at 10 a.m. Tickets are limited, and advance registration for each performance is required.    


Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, 

45 Monument Cir., Indianapolis, IN 46204


Upcoming Dates:

May 29: The Cocktail Hour: Music of the Mad Men Era



Parkinson's Educational Series 2015


Co-sponsored by Parkinson's Awareness Association of Central Indiana (PAACI) and Rock Steady Boxing (RSB). No reservations required.


Last Sunday of Each Month

2:00pm - 3:30 pm

Rock Steady Boxing Corner Man Lounge, 6847 Hillsdale Court
Indianapolis, IN 46250


Upcoming Dates:

May 31, 2015 

2:00pm - 3:30 pm

"Deep Brain Stimulation for Parkinson's" with Bruce Gardner of Medtronic.


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:

2013 Firm Photo
Severns Associates, PC

10293 N. Meridian Street Suite 150

Indianapolis, Indiana 46290



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Severns Associates, P.C.
10293 N. Meridian Street, Suite 150
Indianapolis, IN 46290
(317) 817-0300