Their whole lives, Tom and Sara Smith had worked hard. Although hardly wealthy, the couple had lovingly accumulated assets which they had hoped to leave to their children and grandchildren. Now medical problems had become a challenge. Tom had survived cancer, but his heart condition meant he needed skilled care at home while Sara continued to run their business. How could they take advantage of Medicaid benefits, yet avoid dissipating all of their hard-earned assets? As the younger and healthier of the pair, Sara would need them for her own financial security…
For estate planning and elder law attorney Jennifer J. Hammond, it’s all about preserving seniors’ assets while utilizing the social safety net available to families. With a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (B.S.W.) and Certification in Case Management, she had briefly considered becoming an adoption attorney prior to earning her J.D. Interning for Rebecca last year, (Rebecca had been Jennifer’s one-time North Central H.S. classmate!), she realized her mission was advocating for families in a different stage of life; through helping adult family members get prepared – for contingencies and certainties.
Planning for Tom and Sara (fictionalized names) involved an unusually complex area of the law, the Medicaid Waiver program. Indiana actually offers eight different HCBS (Home and Community-Based Services) programs, and Jennifer’s knowledge and legal work resulted in Tom’s being able to receive skilled care at home and avoid being forced to enter a facility…
Jennifer also feels strongly about advocating for families through proper estate planning. “At the very least,” Sheryl Nance-Nash writes in Forbes, “think of estate planning as a way to reduce familial stress when you’re no longer in a position to make decisions.” Hammond certainly agrees.
Jennifer herself has been in several decision-making roles, both as a mother and a professional. She has experience as a paralegal, legal secretary, and family law assistant at three law firms, and as a case manager for a home-based counseling agency under contract with the Marion County Office of Family and Children. She also was the Business Manager of a local church, and spent a summer volunteering with the Senior Law Project at Indiana Legal Services.
Advocacy for families through estate planning and elder law is Jennifer L. Hammond’s career mission, and the law firm of Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates is certainly proud to welcome its newest associate.
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates Blog Team