LOCAL SPOTLIGHT - KENTUCKY HEALTH SOLUTIONS

It is that most wonderful time of the year—no, we are not talking about Christmas. It’s Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Season. Yes, it’s the time of the year when we stress and spend hours on the phone or online shopping for health coverage. The pain of having to shop health coverage, spend hours on the phone or online with one company vs another for our health insurance can be a daunting task. It does not matter if you are on Medicare or looking for your personal insurance, this can be one of the most dreaded….

REDEFINED SENIOR LIVING

This senior living community, the latest on the Lexington landscape, offers numerous amenities and top-class touches that make it a vibrant, exciting community.  “We are redefining senior living,” said Jacqueline Kennedy, Director of Sales and Marketing at Legacy Reserve. “If someone has a notion of what senior living looks like, we ask them to tour Legacy Reserve.”  On your visit, you certainly won’t find Legacy Reserve residents just sitting around watching life go by.

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ADULT GUARDIANSHIP: FROM DEMENTIA TO ADDICTION

Guardianship has been a hot topic in Kentucky the past year.  Between the increase in dementia diagnoses and the growing drug epidemic, the court system has had a great influx in the number of guardianship filings over the past few years.  In Kentucky, a guardianship is a legal proceeding during which a jury determines whether an individual is wholly or partially disabled, the court appoints a guardian, thus officially creating a legal relationship between the guardian and the ward.

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Soon, the office had a need for an additional attorney, Mary Ellis Patton, a younger attorney experienced and licensed in Kentucky and Ohio with a range of abilities in probate, will contests, guardianship, adoption, and trusts, joined the staff. The office grew again with a second assistant, Pamela Light, who had been in banking plus had personal experience with some of the issues in the practice. Pamela became the firm’s Medicaid application specialist. Soon thereafter, Lydia Sallade’ was brought in as a legal assistant; Lydia brought experience from her previous jobs working in law and geriatric healthcare. Lydia has become a vital component in the firm’s probate and guardianship practices.


Finally, Katherine Finnell, a sole practice elder law attorney, joined the firm as an associate attorney. Katherine had recently received her L.L.M. (legal masters) in Estate Planning and Elder Law. Katherine brought with her a wealth of knowledge on a wide-range of topics.


While the firm is not all female by design, Carolyn and her team of women have created a collegial workplace where clients come first. The firm uses a holistic approach in working with clients. The attorneys utilize the expertise of the entire team to find the best method to facilitate clients’ needs. The attorneys do not compete with one another but provide one another with support and feedback.

In a historic building adjacent to Cheapside in downtown Lexington, a group of women are making a difference in the lives of seniors and their families. Bluegrass Elderlaw is comprised of two partner attorneys, two associate attorneys, and three support staff.


Carolyn L. Kenton founded Bluegrass Elderlaw in 2011. Before creating the firm, Carolyn had practiced by herself almost 20 years in an office sharing arrangement with her husband’s former law partners. Carolyn was married to William G. Kenton, Jr. who served as speaker of the Kentucky General Assembly. Speaker Kenton led an illustrious career as both a statesman and an attorney. After Speaker Kenton’s death, Carolyn ran for and won her husband’s former seat in the General Assembly. Her life changed dramatically and so, while raising two children on her own, she took her turn at being a stateswoman and attorney.


Carolyn formed Bluegrass Elderlaw, in part, because her practice was naturally evolving to handle the needs of seniors. Carolyn stated that her practice was gearing more heavily in the direction of end of life and Medicaid planning issues. “I could also see that the aging baby boomer demographics would favor a practice more specifically directed towards an aging population’s needs,” said Kenton.


 

ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF SENIORS AND THEIR FAMILIES

While Carolyn took a leap of faith in staring the new firm, she realized that she must “practice what she preached” in regards to future planning. Carolyn began to look for younger attorneys to work with her in order to provide continuous uninterrupted service for clients and their families.


Carolyn soon added Amy E. Dougherty to the firm in 2012. Amy and Carolyn had been classmates in law school. Amy has been a traditional student and Carolyn a non-traditional student.  Amy had previously worked for the Kentucky Public Service Commission and for Legal Aid of the Bluegrass. While at Legal Aid, Amy had handled elder law and nursing home issues. Amy and Carolyn had a shared passion to assist the elderly navigate the legal system and helping them meet their estate planning goals. It was an ideal fit for both of them.


Carolyn and Amy filled their new office with a staff of highly qualified and talented individuals all having experience adding to the first rate quality of the firm. Carol Weleski, an experienced customer service specialist was the first addition to the office. If you call their office today, you are likely to speak with her on the phone. Carol is described by her officemates as friendly, kind, and thoughtful.



120 N. Mill St., Ste. 201 Lexington, KY 40507

Call Today: 859-281-0048 www.bgelderlaw.com

Carolyn’s idea to focus on their seniors and family has evolved more than she had expected. Bluegrass Elderlaw was been a dream in the making and the women could not be more proud of the firm and the successes they have made for their clients.


Why should a family look to an elder law firm to assist them? The attorneys at Bluegrass Elderlaw say that most people do not know what “elder law” is.


In the past twenty-five years families have been faced with waves of changes that have effected their economic and healthcare well-being. Bluegrass Elderlaw helps families plan for the future by taking into consideration new and changing laws and regulations.


Client education is key. The attorneys stress that part of the planning process is educating the client about laws, rules, and agency regulations that could affect their planning strategies.


With longer life expectancy and the mental decline associated with that, the greatest risk to a family’s wealth in no longer taxes, but the cost of end of life care. Bluegrass Elderlaw helps families plan for the cost of care in conjunction with the many rules and regulations that will apply. Medicaid rules, estate planning rules and family law rules are not the same or even compatible in many cases.


Carolyn finds that it takes talent and grace to age well and advises clients that they need to be prepared. Carolyn advises seniors to (1) have in place the documents your family will need to assist you – powers of attorney, both medical and legal, and a will, and (2)be flexible and accept change as gracefully as possible.


Carolyn says, “The best part of the practice is getting to know a wide range of people who have had interesting and sometimes fascinating life experiences. Our reward is being able to assist these families through what is often a difficult transition.”


Both of us having a shared passion to assist the elderly navigate the legal system and helping them meet their estate planning goals. It was an ideal fit for both of us.


We filled our new office with a staff of highly qualified and talented individuals all having experience adding to the first rate quality of our firm. Our first assistant was an experienced customer service specialist, Carol Weleski. Our first associate, Mary Ellis Patton, was experienced and licensed in Kentucky and Ohio with a range of abilities in probate, will contests, guardianship, adoption, and trusts.  Our second assistant and Medicaid application specialist, Pamela Light, had personal, family experience with some of the issues in our practice. Our third assistant, Lydia Sallade’ brought experience from her previous jobs working in law and geriatric healthcare. Our last associate, Katherine Finnell was a sole practice elder law attorney with an advanced degree in the subject, looking for a more structured environment.               

Amy E. Dougherty

PARTNER

Carolyn L. Kenton

MANAGING PARTNER

Mary Ellis Patton

SR. ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY

Katherine E. Finnell

ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY