New Medicaid Service for Transportation

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Indiana Health Coverage Programs now offers a new program for all non-emergency transportation for certain Medicaid recipients. Beginning last month, a company called Southeastrans is in charge of all non-emergency transportation. If a Medicaid recipient has no way of getting to his doctor appointment, he can simply call Southeastrans to schedule his ride. For all trips covered by Medicaid, an individual must use Southeastrans. Medicaid recipients will no longer call transportation providers themselves to schedule rides.

Trip Reservation Line: 1-855-325-7586

Medicaid recipients can now call the trip reservation line during regular business hours, Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, to schedule their ride. Calls must be made at least two business days before the ride is needed. Trips can also be scheduled on the online Southeastrans Member Portal. After a person registers, he can login to see his scheduled trips and schedule new trips. He can also cancel a trip or get help from a Southeastrans representative.

Southeastrans can schedule rides to non-emergency medical services covered by Medicaid, such as to the dentist, doctor, or dialysis. Medicaid will pay for 20 one-way trips per 12 month period. More trips may he provided if the doctor requests it and it is approved through Southeastrans.

When a person calls to schedule, he will need:

  • Member ID, full name, and date of birth
  • Telephone number of member
  • Pick-up address
  • Doctor or facility name and address
  • Telephone number of doctor or facility
  • Appointment date and time
  • Any special transportation needs (wheelchair, walker, vision-impaired, etc)

Once the ride is scheduled, Southeastrans will give the Medicaid recipient an estimated time to be ready for pick-up. If the ride is late, call Southeastrans at 1-855-325-7586. When the appointment is over, the Medicaid recipient can call Southeastrans to let them know he is ready to return home. Southeastrans will contact the transportation provider to arrange a ride home.

If a Medicaid recipient needs a trip with less than two days’ notice (such as for an urgent appointment that could not be scheduled in advance), the person can call Southeastrans to set that up. The urgent need must be verified by the person’s doctor. However, emergency transportation needs are not set up through Southeastrans – call 911.

If the Medicaid recipient needs to stop at a pharmacy on the way home from the medical appointment, the person or the driver can call Southeastrans to add a pharmacy stop. A pharmacy stop on the way home is not counted as a separate trip. However, if the person needs to later schedule a separate trip to the pharmacy through Southeastrans, the trip will count toward the 20-trip limit.

To learn more, visit the Southeastrans website. If you or someone you know needs help getting qualified for Medicaid, our experienced attorneys can help you get eligible while protecting your assets.

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“No Contest” Clause Now Enforceable

no contestEffective July 1, Indiana’s prohibition of “no contest” clauses (also in terrorem or forfeiture clauses) has been repealed in both Wills and Trusts. A no contest clause is a provision in your Will or Trust that reduces or eliminates a beneficiary’s inheritance due to that beneficiary’s conduct in the administration of the estate. The goal of these clauses is to deter disgruntled beneficiaries from waging costly and divisive litigation after you die.

A no contest clause allows you to have control over disgruntled beneficiaries after your death. You can dictate that a beneficiary who contests the validity of your Will or Trust forfeits all or even a portion of the inheritance he otherwise would have received. You can also provide that the attorney fees and expenses incurred during the contest come out of that beneficiary’s share.

For years, Indiana was one of only two states that prohibited testators from including no contest clauses in their estate plan. Some states, like Texas, have been enforcing no contest clauses for over a century.  Now, no contest clauses are enforceable except under certain provisions. For example, one exception to a no contest clause is if the contest is brought for “good cause.” Basically, an heir will not forfeit his inheritance if probable cause exists to pursue a Will or Trust contest. Beneficiaries can contest a Will or Trust if such documents were procured through fraud or undue influence without fear of retribution. “Good cause” has not yet been defined so Courts will likely look to other contexts to develop a proper definition.

Actions brought to seek the construction or interpretation of a Will or Trust will not be deemed a contest of the Will or Trust. Other types of actions like a beneficiary’s objection to the discretionary action taken by a fiduciary (e.g. a trustee’s excess fees or self-dealing) will also not be considered under a no contest clause.

Because no contest clauses are meant to be a deterrent, a beneficiary’s potential inheritance must be substantial enough to deter that beneficiary from bringing a contest. Thus, you may be inclined to include some amount of inheritance to a problematic beneficiary in order to avoid the expense and divisiveness of later litigation. The greater the inheritance, the greater the incentive not to bring a contest.

Although Indiana has not adopted any specific statute, it may be prudent to clarify your intent as to any forfeited inheritance. For example, if your son contests your Will and loses out on his inheritance, do his children also lose out on their inheritance or will they receive your son’s inheritance? Should descendants be able to inherit despite the beneficiary’s misconduct or should that whole branch of family be disinherited? It would be good practice to specify which beneficiaries will inherit if a no contest clause is enacted. You can also be specific about what conduct or acts are prohibited. Prohibited conduct could include challenging your beneficiary designations, filing a claim in your estate, or pursuing an action to collect a debt against your estate.

No contest clauses offer a new tool to include in your estate plan that will help deter litigation over your estate after you die. We will see in the future how Indiana courts interpret this new statute.

Source: “How Testators Can Leverage Indiana’s Repeal of the Prohibition on No Contest Clause” by Sarah C. Jenkins

Can You Revoke Your Will?

Creating your Last Will and Testament is an essential step to take for your future. But what if you change your mind? You can change your Will by making a Codicil or a new Will. You should never change your Will by writing on it – the changes won’t be effective and could even invalidate the Will.

Can you revoke your Will? Yes, you can revoke your Will by destroying it with the intention of revoking it. Alternatively, you can put something in writing stating that you intend to revoke your Will. It should contain the date of the Will, your signature, and two witnesses’ signatures. If you want to revoke just a portion of your Will, you can only do so by putting it in writing.

In addition, if you create a Will later on and decide to revoke the later Will, the revocation will not automatically revive the former Will. If you wish to revive your former Will, you must make that intention clear in your revocation of the later Will. Or you can republish your former Will. A nuncupative Will can be revoked by another nuncupative Will. (A nuncupative Will is an oral Will that a person makes on his death bed).

If you get divorced after making your Will, all provisions in the Will that benefit your former spouse are revoked. Likewise, if your marriage is annulled, it will have the same effect to your Will as a divorce. Other than these two scenarios, there are no other changes in circumstances that can revoke your Will.

A Guide to Estate Planning, Even If You’re Young and Healthy

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You may not be thinking about your Last Will and Testament or Power of Attorney, especially if you’re young and healthy. Many people know they should have an estate plan but don’t take the time to create one, until a major life change happens such as having a baby or a family member dying. This guide can help you think about estate planning now so you’re prepared for the future.

What is estate planning? 

Many people think “estate” refers to rich people with large homes and expensive possessions. However, nearly everyone has an estate, regardless of their income or social standing. An estate simply refers to your net worth: your home, your money, and your possessions minus your debts and liabilities. Estate planning allows you to specify what will happen to your possessions, investments, life insurance, pets, and children once you die. First, you need an attorney.

What should you look for in an attorney?

Look for an attorney that primarily does estate planning. They will be more knowledgeable about your options than a “jack-of-all-trades” attorney. You want an attorney who will do it right the first time and can update it in the future as needed. Also, consider the cost. Call around and find out what price range you’re looking at. It is not always a good idea to go with the cheapest attorney you find. If you choose the cheapest attorney, you may need to pay someone else to fix your Will in the future when it doesn’t reflect your wishes.

Ask your friends for suggestions. Word of mouth can be the best way to find a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Or look online at reviews and see what others are saying about a particular attorney. Try to pick an attorney that wants to educate you about your own documents, rather than simply preparing a Will or Trust that you don’t understand. You should know what your Will or Trust says to be sure it reflects your wishes.

What should you include in your plan?

Once you select an attorney, he or she will be able to find out what you want to accomplish and suggest options that best reflect your situation. For example, if you have minor children, then you want to nominate a guardian for your children in your Will. If you have a disabled child or spouse, you may want to set up a Special Needs Trust.

Having a Will is important but you should also have in place a financial power of attorney and a health care power of attorney. A financial power of attorney appoints someone while you are alive to help take care of your finances (i.e. paying bills, writing checks) when you are no longer able to do so yourself. A health care power of attorney appoints someone to make health care decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated.

Can you write your own Will?

It is not a good idea to write your own Will or use an online resource to do so. Estate planning should be customized to your needs, wishes, and situation. An online resource cannot anticipate and prepare for all those specifics. Using an online Will writing service may save you money up front but will often end up costing you more in the long run, such as when you get it fixed or after you die when it doesn’t accomplish what you needed it to.

What happens if you die without a Will?

In Indiana, if you die without a Will, then the state determines how things will be handled according to the intestacy laws. Any assets you own jointly or that name a beneficiary will be distributed directly to that person. Any other assets will be handled through the state laws.

Indiana law dictates that if you are not married and have children, everything goes to your children. If you are married with no children or parents living, everything goes to your spouse. If you are married and have children with that spouse, 1/2 goes to your spouse and 1/2 to your children.  There is a predetermined line of inheritance for every situation. Some scenarios like second marriages can get a little more complicated.

In addition, if your children inherit a portion of your estate, their shares will need to be held in a guardianship account for their benefit until they turn 18. That means extra time, work, paperwork, and cost. However, this can be avoided with a simple Will. You can include custodial provisions in your Will that avoids the need for a court guardianship. Instead, you appoint a custodian to manage the funds for the minor through an account under the Indiana Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.

Rather than letting the state decide how your estate is distributed, you can make your own wishes clear by having an estate plan. You may feel apprehensive or even afraid of thinking about your death, but putting off estate planning could lead to disaster. Instead, make sure you have your wishes clearly expressed in a Last Will and Testament or Trust. Also, make sure you have a financial Power or Attorney and Advance Directives for Health Care. These documents can be immensely helpful to your family and save a lot of headache later on.

 

Source: The Penny Hoarder

New Display at Allen County Courthouse

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The Superior Court in Allen County, Indiana has set up a new display for Court information. The electronic Court docket display, which resembles technology you see at the airport, is located on the first floor of the Courthouse at the main public entrance. The docket display has been made possible by Court Improvement Grants from the Indiana Supreme Court. They were developed in partnership with Infax, a developer of custom digital display solutions, the Circuit Court, and the Allen County Clerk’s office.

The system displays names, schedules, and court room information on four  screens. The fifth screen displays information about the Courts, such as maps, contact information, and room numbers. The display will show docket information and court basics for both Allen Circuit and Superior Courts. However, juvenile and mental health cases will not be displayed due to their confidential nature. Instead, people that need to participate in those types of cases will be directed to the correct room for guidance.

The new system has been implemented in order to simplify the process for citizens coming to Court. Judge Frances Gull says, “We have worked hard in recent years to make the Courts more user-friendly through technology. This is one more way to make the process more accessible to everyone.” The displays are similar to those in place at the Charles “Bud” Meeks Justice Center.

In addition, the Allen County Building Maintenance custom-built an attractive enclosure to house the system. It blends the new technology with the interior architecture of the historic Courthouse. Craftsmen hand painted the support columns to match the adjacent marble. In the future, the Superior Court would like to display similar dockets elsewhere as the budget permits. The Court would also like to add more information in other languages.

Source: Allen Superior Court

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

alz- juneJune is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month! This month is focused on increasing public awareness of Alzheimer’s disease as well as highlighting the available resources on how to get involved and support the cause. Governor Eric Holcomb invites Hoosiers to raise awareness and take action through the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter’s 65 Ways to Go Purple.

Every 65 seconds, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease in the United States. To raise awareness about the severity of this issue, the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Indiana Chapter has created 65 Ways to Go Purple, which is the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement. There are many ways to participate, such as attending education programs, supporting groups or fundraising events, knowing where to find support and resources, turning the town purple, and more.

Here is a sample of “ways to go purple” this month:

  1. Learn the ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and how to recognize them in yourself and others.
  2. Write a letter to a local or online newspaper calling attention to Alzheimer’s.
  3. Share of photo of you or your friends/family wearing purple. Hashtag your photos with #EndAlz or #EndAlzheimer’s and tag @AlzIndiana.
  4. Help accelerate the search for a cure by signing up for TrialMatch, which is a free clinical studies matching service that connects individuals with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, and healthy volunteers to current studies.
  5. Join advocates from around the nation in Washington, D.C. for the three-day 2018 event: Alzheimer’s Association AIM Advocacy Forum.
  6. Encourage your gym to participate in The Longest Day.
  7. Become a volunteer to help serve the 110,000 Hoosiers living with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
  8. Get involved with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

You can read the full list here. Make it your goal to participate in this month’s Alzheimer’s awareness efforts!

Source: Alzheimer’s Association

Criminals Steal $37 Billion a Year from the Elderly

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Marjorie Jones

An unknown caller reached out to Marjorie Jones, an older blind woman living alone, to tell her that she had won a sweepstakes prize. She could collect the winnings once she paid taxes and fees. Marjorie sent the first payment, but the caller continued adding conditions to convince her to send more money. She depleted her savings, took out a reverse mortgage, and cashed in a life insurance policy. Her family did not know something was wrong until she began asking to borrow money. By then, Marjorie had lost all of her life savings – hundreds of thousands of dollars. One week later, she committed suicide.

Every year, scammers target and financially exploit some 5 million seniors in America. Seniors also suffer at the hands of family members and friends who are greedy, desperate, or drug-addicted. One financial firm estimates that seniors lose almost $37 billion a year. However, the number is nearly impossible to calculate and may actually be much higher. For every case reported to authorities, as many as 44 are not reported.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted elder exploitation as a public health problem. Mark Lachs, from Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, says that victims of elder abuse die at a rate three times faster than those who have not been abused. Families are often unable to help because they do not know what is going on. Scammers push victims to keep things like promised winnings a secret.

The victims are usually emotionally devastated due to being betrayed. Although it may look as though the senior gave consent, it is often based on manipulation or deception. In many cases, the senior has some level of cognitive impairment and is no longer able to manage his assets. Sometimes, financial judgment can decline even before normal cognition does.

It can be difficult or nearly impossible to retrieve the senior’s money. A person can give his money to whomever he wants, even if the family disapproves. But this decision is called into question when the senior no longer has capacity to make financial decisions. If an evaluation shows that the victim lacks capacity, there is a stronger criminal case. However, determining capacity is not uniform across the United States and many places lack people who can conduct thorough evaluations.

Despite the growing severity of this problem, the government’s response has been somewhat limited. The Elder Justice Act was enacted in 2010 to address elder abuse but remained unfunded until 2015 when it was allocated $4 million. In February of this year, the Justice Department charged more than 250 defendants with scams that caused nearly 1 million Americans to lose more than $500 million. Also, 39 states and D.C. addressed financial exploitation of seniors in their legislative sessions. More than half enacted legislation or adopted resolutions. Financial industries have also put into effect additional standards to help protect seniors, such as obtaining a trusted contact’s information to discuss account activity and the ability to place temporary holds on disbursements.

Unfortunately, scammers know what they are doing. They take amounts under $10,000  that will not get picked up by fraud and they steal across institutions over time. Also, nearly 60% of elder exploitation cases involve a trusted friend or family member. The exploiter may use force or the threat of force to manipulate the senior.

If you have any suspicion that your senior friend or relative may be suffering at the hands of exploiters, you should investigate his finances carefully. Talk to your seniors regularly and keep the lines of communication open. Being diligent may help prevent financial exploitation of your seniors.

Source: Bloomberg

Older Americans Month 2018: Reinvent Yourself

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Today, older Americans are living longer and enjoying healthier lives. What are older Americans doing after retiring? Many are trying new careers, helping others, exploring new interests, or pursuing dreams. Reinventing yourself can be rewarding and good for your mental and physical well-being.

By 2029, more than 20% of Americans will be of retirement age.

There can be many benefits to reinventing yourself after retirement. It can help keep your mind active and maintain your physical health. Pursuing new goals and activities can give you structure and routine, connect you with your community, and promote social activities rather than isolation. In some cases, seniors can gain an additional source of income.

Careers after retirement can be personally and financially rewarding. First, determine what skills you have to offer. You can seek out classes and training to gain even more skills. Update your resume and start looking at job posts. Another option is to pursue your passions and hobbies. Express yourself through the arts – painting, dancing, or music. Take an art class or pursue a creative project. Studies show that the arts can improve your brain health. If you’re not artsy, learn a new language or take a computer class. Travel and discover other cultures. Pursuing new interests can keep you happy, healthy, and connected.

You can even consider using your years of experience to help others. You could mentor at-risk youths, provide job training, or help families recover from disasters. Connect with a local senior center, community college, or library to find various programs in your community.

Source: Older Americans

Older Americans Month 2018: Give Back

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Community service and volunteering are becoming more and more popular – even among older Americans. Being involved in the community benefits you and the people around you. Engaging in meaningful work can prevent mental health issues and provide physical benefits by being active and social.

One in four older Americans makes a positive impact through volunteering.

There are many benefits to volunteering. It can improve your mental and physical health.Volunteers report greater satisfaction in life and a greater sense of purpose in life. Also, studies suggest that volunteers are likely to live longer. Here’s how you can get started in giving back:

  • Schedule. Determine how much time you can and want to give. Then, choose community service projects that fit your lifestyle.
  • Tailor. Get involved in something that matches your interests and skills. You can visit nationalservice.gov/serve for tips and inspiration.
  • Support. Reach out to your neighborhood, spiritual community, or club to find programs that need help or different volunteer opportunities. Ask friends or family or even other seniors in the community to join you.

Getting involved and giving back is a great way to improve your overall wellness.

Source: Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month 2018: Be Well

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Although people are living longer, there are more people are developing chronic illnesses. Many think that the older you get, the sicker you will be. However, this is not necessarily true. Aging does not automatically mean you will have chronic illness. There is much that seniors can do to be more active or have a healthier diet. Small changes can lead to huge differences in the way you feel and how well your body works. You should always consult your doctor before making major changes to your health, but these small steps can improve your overall wellness no matter how old you are.

About 80% of older Americans have at least one chronic health condition.

Having a healthier lifestyle can help you control weight, strengthen muscles, and improve balance. These changes can make falls and other injuries less likely to occur. Healthy living also decreases risk of depression and risks related to brain health. You can even have more opportunities to be social and have fun. Here are some small steps you can take to have a healthier lifestyle:

  • Pace yourself. Do not overwhelm yourself and begin training for a marathon if you are not accustomed to exercising. Instead, choose low-impact exercises that you can do a little at a time. For example, take a short walk in the morning or learn some gentle stretches.
  • Get a partnerExercising is easier when you are able to enjoy it with others. You can gather a group of friends to exercise together or join a class. Exercising with others makes it more enjoyable and also keeps you accountable so you’re more likely to continue long-term.
  • Nourish your bodyNutrition is vital to your health. Try keeping a diary of what you eat so you can see how you are doing. Nutritionists can be a valuable resource to help you evaluate your diet. If you have any special dietary needs, consult your doctor before changing your diet.
  • Stimulate the mind. Healthy eating and exercise can reduce risks to your brain’s health, such as dementia. You can do more to exercise your mind by learning new things, reading, playing games, and being social.

Taking these small steps can lead to longer, healthier, and happier lives. Stay motivated to continue in your healthy lifestyle by picking goals that bring you joy. Regardless of your age, we can all improve our wellness.

Source: Older Americans Month