News/Community Involvement-Pam’s Party

As an extension of her law practice, Stasia regularly performs at musical events benefitting local organizations who support elders and individuals with special needs.

“Pam’s Party: A Joy’s House Open House” will be held next week-on the evening of Thursday, July 26th @ 6:30pm at Joy’s House in Broad Ripple Village. It’s a celebration to honor caregivers and Guests/potential new Guests.

This open house is free to attend, but you may wish to bring cash for supper and activities, which will be available for purchase.

Hope to see you there!

p.s. Little people are especially welcome to try out the accordion, guitar, shakers, or mandolin at the “instrument petting zoo!”

Talking about Health Care Choices Won’t Kill You-Changes to Indiana Medical Consent Laws

July 1st, 2018 marks the implementation of several common-sense changes that the Indiana Legislature recently made to Indiana’s medical consent statute (I.C. 16-36-1-1 et. seq.)

If a person becomes incapable of making their own health care choices and doesn’t have written advance directives in place, Indiana law now has the following “priority order” of people who can make these choices on an individual’s behalf:

  1. A judicially appointed guardian of the person
  2. Spouse
  3. Adult Child
  4. Parent
  5. Adult sibling
  6. Grandparent
  7. Adult grandchild
  8. Nearest relative in next degree of kinship who is not listed in sections 2-7
  9. Friend who:
    1. Is an adult;
    2. Has maintained regular contact with the individual and;
    3. Is familiar with the individual’s activities, health and religious or moral beliefs.
  10. The individual’s religious superior, if the individual is a member of a religious order

If there’s more than one member of a voting group, then they must try to reach a collaborative consensus.  If they can’t agree, then the majority rules.

The new law also specifies that the following people can’t make health care decisions:

  1. A spouse if the individual legally separated (or the spouse is the reason that the individual is hospitalized.)
  2. A person who is subjected to a protective order involving the individual
  3. A person who is subjected to pending criminal charges involving the individual
  4. A person the individual intentionally excluded when he or she signed advance directives

So, what practically happens when there is no advance directive and a person can’t consent to healthcare?  In that case, the person’s care providers are required to conduct a “reasonable inquiry” to determine who can consent.

The good news?  By naming a health care representative or a health care power of attorney, you can take charge of these choices yourself and decide who will speak for you if you can’t. We can help.

Good health is such a very precious thing. So eat your veggies, do some yoga, and be empowered!

Talking about health care choices won’t kill you.

 

 

Elder Mediation

Elder law attorneys regularly have a unique vantage point into the reality that, even the healthiest and most functional of family roles and relationships can become very complicated very quickly when an elder loved one starts needing additional care.

As needs and long-held roles within a family change, many of our clients benefit from learning new ways of coping with evolving relationships and new realities.

In many cases, elder mediation can be a helpful and empowering tool. Mediation provides an opportunity for the elder and all involved members of a family to participate in thoughtful and collaborative decision making. It can provide a valuable opportunity for family members to attack the issues at hand instead of each other.

Once the family has settled on a plan, then we can often help by drafting the documents needed to put that plan into action.

A core value of our practice is the dignity, autonomy, integrity, and protection of elders and their families. So give us a call if you have questions about elder mediation, supported decision making, or long term care planning on behalf of an elder loved one.

We can help.

March is Disability Awareness Month

Did you know that March is Indiana Disability Awareness Month?

No matter the differences between us, it’s always better to treat others the way you want to be treated, and this is especially true when interacting with our co-workers, classmates, and neighbors who live with disabilities.

The 2018 Indiana Disability Awareness Month campaign theme- “Be Cool, We are!”- is all about the importance of being comfortable in your own skin and making the conscious decision to be yourself.

Acting differently around someone with a disability isn’t cool.

So… be cool!

And learn more about Indiana Disability Awareness Month here.

 

 

Carefully Consider Your Gifts

Our clients are people of generosity.

They love to give (and receive) gifts during their lifetimes and they are committed to leaving legacies of generosity in the hearts of their families and in the bodies of their estate plans.

But beware- If you believe that you may need help paying for long term care in the future, then you should be extra mindful about gift-giving during your lifetime. Under federal Medicaid law, if you transfer certain assets within five years before applying for Medicaid, you will be ineligible for a period of time (called a transfer penalty), depending on how much money you transferred.

Gifts, loans, or charitable donations over a certain threshold can result in “penalizable transactions.”

If you’re an elder thinking about helping with tuition, loaning an adult child money for a down payment on a home, or giving other gifts, give us a call.

We can often walk you through different strategies that can reduce your risks while still accomplishing many of your generous goals.

gift

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Here’s to eating clean, moving more, being more intentional with time, and getting those little ducks in a row.

We usually get a deluge of estate planning inquiries in January as people make good on those resolutions.

Let us know if we can help.
(We’ll provide the caffeine.)

Calling all Generous Gift-Givers!

Calling all generous gift-givers!

Are you considering gifting cash, stocks, or property to loved ones this holiday season?  If so, then you’ll definitely want to know that the annual gift tax exclusion for 2018 is rising from $14,000 (where it has been for the past five years) to $15,000.

This means that anyone who gives away $15,000 or less to anyone other than their spouse doesn’t have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS (though you’ll still have to file a gift tax return).

With the increase in the gift tax, the amount you can give to an ABLE account. (INvestABLE Indiana) is also increasing to $15,000. ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities and their families to save money in designated accounts for disability related expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other government benefits.

There are so many ways to create a legacy of generosity.

Let us know if we can help.


 

Nuvo “Best of Indy” 2017

Thank you to the readers of Nuvo Newsweekly for choosing our office as an honoree in the “Best Attorney” category for their 2017 “Best of Indy” Issue.  This public recognition means so much to us.

Thank you for inviting us into your adoption journeys, your estate planning and care planning conversations, your celebrations, and even your disappointments.

It is our privilege to advocate for you.

Be the Boss

Be the boss.

We know that most people don’t particularly relish estate planning conversations.

But wouldn’t you prefer to be in charge of naming the trusted loved ones to care for your kids, manage your healthcare, help with your finances, and settle your estate?

We can help you be the boss.

Give us a call and we’ll help you contemplate your mortality (and your estate planning choices) as painlessly as possible.

How to Sign Documents as a Power of Attorney

Have you been appointed as “Attorney-in-Fact” by a loved one in a financial Power of Attorney? If so, then you know that this job isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, it carries quite a bit of responsibility with it.

If you’re signing a legal document on behalf of someone else, always remember to indicate that you are acting under the POA authority in your signature.

For example, if you’re Jane Smith empowered as the agent for Dorothy Smith, you might sign either as: 
“Dorothy Smith by Jane Smith under Power of Attorney” or “Jane Smith, attorney-in-fact for Dorothy Smith.”

It’s important to be clear that you aren’t  signing for yourself but are, instead, signing for the principal. If you just sign your own name, it’s possible that you could be held personally accountable for anything you sign.  Always be mindful that your signature clearly conveys that you are signing in a representative capacity and are not signing personally,

Questions about Power of Attorney documents? Give us a call.

We can help.