Protect What Matters

Nugen Law combines elder care with elder law to provide full-spectrum life care planning.
Mar 1, 2024
Tammy Davis
Jeffrey Crane

When most people hear the term “legacy,” they think of tangible assets: houses, land, businesses, wealth and the like. What they often ignore however, is the legacy of relationship. How will they be remembered by their loved ones? Will their children’s lasting memories of them be reshaped by the stress of navigating care, struggling with logistics and managing finances? Too often, families face these types of issues rather than being able to simply enjoy life’s golden years. J. Bryan Nugen, president of Nugen Law, wants to change that.

“What we do allows people’s children and loved ones to remain as just that, not to carry the additional challenges of navigating the world of health care and managing the aging process,” explains Nugen. “We are different in many respects, but first and foremost, we aim to protect not only our clients’ money, but also their dignity. That’s our differentiator.”

While Nugen Law takes a different approach to elder law – they call it Life Care Planning – it’s more than a niche business. According to the AARP, 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65-years-old every day. At this rate, older adults will represent more than 20% of the country’s population by 2050. Unfortunately, few people have adequately prepared for how their lives will look as they navigate ensuring a legacy for their loved ones.

“Clients often come to us with the idea that all they want to do is protect their money,” says Nugen. “When they understand the services we offer, it opens up a whole new world to them; we protect dignity.”

Nugen’s approach depends on the stage in which a client first engages with them. Ideally, the sooner the better. Regardless of when they first connect with a client, the process begins the same way. It starts with sharing goals and desires, so the Nugen Law team understands what is most important to the client.

“It really should be a free flow of information,” explains Nugen. “We strive to develop a very healthy long-term relationship with our clients as they go through the aging process.”

While Nugen Law can certainly provide wills, trusts, powers of attorney and estate planning, the services it offers expand far beyond those elder law standards. An integral part of the Nugen team is the Certified Elder Care Coordinator (ECC), whose mission is to listen to and advocate for the client’s wishes. The earlier in the process the ECC becomes involved, the sooner they can achieve a baseline of understanding. The main thrust of the ECC’s relationship with clients is to make sure they are receiving appropriate care.

Brian Grubb, known to clients as BG, holds the role of ECC at Nugen Law. On any given day, he may attend medical visits, explain anticipated procedures, attend care plan meetings, work with providers to coordinate care, screen providers for home care, home health and hospice services, arrange transportation to and from appointments, help navigate through the red tape of receiving benefits, coordinate rehabilitation services, screen and recommend alternative living arrangements, and lend an ear. 

“BG is a passionate advocate for his clients. He’s a licensed social worker with a caregiver’s heart,” says Nugen. “He’s a very good man, and we receive 

nothing but high praise from every client who has worked with him.”

Besides the advocacy of an elder care coordinator and legal assistance, Nugen Law’s services also include tax preparation by a Certified Public Accounting firm, a public benefits specialist (e.g. Medicaid, veteran’s benefits, etc.) and a Medicare specialist. When working with Nugen Law, clients may take advantage of as many of these services as are appropriate for their unique needs. Having these services at hand helps alleviate the feeling of helplessness that often plagues elderly people, and it relieves their family members of responsibility for these tasks.

“We allow our clients to be heard and remain relevant in their family and in their community,” says Nugen. “We draw upon the knowledge of our entire interdisciplinary team to ensure our clients are aging as best they can while meeting them where they are.”

Jeslynn Smith, an attorney on the Nugen team, calls her work especially fulfilling. “We’re protecting people’s dignity,” she says. “It’s about the relationships with the clients and helping them through. What we do here is different; it’s good work.”

“Our clients especially like that our representation is flat fee, value based,” he continues. “Their cost for our services remains the same regardless of how often we consult with them, the number of legal instruments we prepare, the frequency with which they see their Elder Care Coordinator or whether we prepare their personal tax returns. Our clients don’t need to worry that every time they reach out for help an additional charge will be assessed.”

Nugen hopes people understand that the role of the Nugen Law multidisciplinary team is collaborative, not adversarial. They work hard to honor clients’ wishes while relieving stress from family members and caregivers. Often, people fear that admitting a need for help will cause them to lose their independence and potentially be removed from their home. 

“We want clients to make the decisions while they are still able, to put in place how we’re going to provide care,” says Nugen. “We engage them in the decision-making process so they can maintain control, not give it up; we respect their dignity.”

The business cards representing Nugen Law label it an “elder care law firm,” but that description calls to mind only a fraction of the services it provides. Nugen explains it as the intersection of estate planning and elder law, encircled by a holistic set of complementary services. The result is what Nugen calls Life Care Planning. He hopes people will look past the law firm moniker to gain a true understanding of how his firm helps people. From its team of accomplished experts to its non-traditional services, Nugen Law is redefining elder care law.

“We’re not a law firm in the traditional sense,” he says. “We have an interdisciplinary team in place that protects the dignity of our clients and their money as they go through the aging process, and we hold people’s hands along the way.” 

Nugen Law, PC

Owner(s): President: J. Bryan Nugen, J.D.

Address: 221 S. Main St. Auburn, Indiana 46706; 5612 W. Jefferson Blvd. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804

Phone: (260) 925-3738

Website: nugenlaw.com

Products & Services: Nugen Law is dedicated to creating customized legal and health care coordination strategies to meet clients’ needs and goals. Its Life Care Planning model is a holistic approach involving the expertise of legal advisors, Elder Care Coordinators (geriatric case managers), health care professionals, Certified Public Accountant, public benefits and insurance advisors, who collaborate to protect and support clients in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Florida

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