Be Very Afraid: Our Top 10 Scariest Articles of 2023 

Halloween is today, so now is the perfect time to add a bit of fright to your day with this year’s spookiest articles. From a man who swapped blood with his 17-year-old son in hopes of increasing his longevity to a scammer who perfectly mimicked a loved one’s voice using artificial intelligence to scam someone, we uncovered some scary ground. To celebrate Halloween, we’ve ranked our scariest articles from least to most scary (but you be the judge) for you to revisit, if you are brave enough to do so. As always, thank you for reading our newsletter and blog! 

Note to our readers: if you’re someone who doesn’t like thinking about scary topics, such as spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on long-term care, then you might want to stop reading or proceed with caution. But if you’re curious, please read on. . . 

  1. Gen Xers Are Facing an Alarming Retirement Reality

Many Gen Xers aren’t building enough savings to maintain their standard of living when they retire.  In fact, most Gen Xers won’t have a pension, and Social Security benefits will only replace between a quarter to a third of one’s income if one retires at “full” retirement age! 

  1. Why Are People So Afraid of Estate Planning?

Estate planning is not the happiest of topics. You determine how your money and property will be handled, who will raise any minor children you have, and who will make health care and financial decisions for you in the event of your incapacity or death.  

Yes, it’s true that communicating your final wishes can be emotionally draining and some people may be reluctant to get started. What they don’t understand is that not doing estate planning can put a huge burden on your family. For instance, if you die without a will or trust, your estate will go through probate, which is truly a nightmare.   

  1. Medical Identity Theft — Someone Could Steal Your Medical Records, and You Will Be Billed for Their Care!

This article was based on a situation where a person received a text from an emergency department of a hospital in DC informing her that her wait time to be seen was an hour. She found it odd, since she no longer lived in DC, hadn’t used that hospital system in years, and was feeling perfectly healthy with no need to make a medical appointment that day. When she got a call the next day from a hospital staffer to discuss the diagnostic results from her ER visit, she knew something was wrong. Someone else registered with her name! 

The name and date of birth the hospital staffer had on record for her were correct, though her address was not. She now lives in Fredericksburg and has for the past fifteen years. The hospital said they’d correct the problem. They changed that address in their system, and the next week, she got a bill from the hospital in DC for more than $4,000 for the other person’s care!   

  1. The Extraordinary Lengths People Will Go Through to Live Longer

Some ultra-wealthy people will go to extremes to maintain their youth. One example is Bryan Johnson, an entrepreneur “who is 48 going on 18.” Johnson is intent on being biologically young again. So much so that he is on the path to spending over $2 million this year alone on medical interventions and tests aimed at helping him be younger. Johnson made headlines for over-the-top practices like swapping blood with his 17-year-old son, yet doctors ultimately reported seeing “no benefits” to the practice. Johnson also claims that he pops 100+ supplements per day and from that, he has claimed to have achieved pretty impressive results.    

  1. The Youngest People to Ever Be Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

Imagine being 17 years old and noticing that your memory is deteriorating. You are unable to concentrate in high school, and your short-term memory seems to be virtually nonexistent. Then, at 19, wondering what is going on, you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This happened recently to a young man in China, who is now the youngest person in the world with Alzheimer’s disease. This article discusses him and others in their 20’s and 30’s who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s! 

  1. Scammers Are More Sophisticated than Ever — Be Vigilant about the New AI Voice Scam

Scammers are becoming more cunning and ruthless with the use of artificial intelligence (AI). As AI technology has become readily accessible over the past year or so, criminals are more and more frequently using it to impersonate the voices of our friends and loved ones to trick us into sending them money. A clever scammer with a good AI program doesn’t need much more than a few-second recording of a loved one’s voice to be able to clone the person’s voice and apply their own script. From there, they can play the audio over the phone to convince their victims that someone they love is in a desperate situation and needs money immediately. 

  1. If You’re Genetically Predisposed to Dementia. . .

Chris Hemsworth, 39, who is best known for his portrayal of Thor in the Marvel franchise, has discovered he is at a higher-than-average risk for Alzheimer’s disease.  Similar to Chris, about one in four people in the general population have an APOE4 gene variant. One copy of the APOE4 gene makes someone two to three times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than the general population. About 2 percent to 3 percent of the population carry two copies of the variant, making them up to eight to 10 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s. As a carrier of two copies of APOE4, Hemsworth is also at a 45 percent increased risk of heart disease! What would you do if you had a genetic pre-disposition to Alzheimer’s and heart disease? 

  1. Should You Fear Doctrine of Necessaries Laws? Changes to Virginia’s Law Makes Them a Bit Less Scary

More than three centuries ago, English courts developed the doctrine of necessaries as a means of enforcing a husband’s duty to support his wife. The law, which is still active in about 40 states, used to only apply to women, as a woman’s only legal means of enforcing her husband’s obligation to support her. But over the years, most of these forty states that still have the doctrine of necessaries have made it apply to both spouses equally.   

According to the doctrine of necessaries, as long as the marriage exists, the financial resources of both spouses should be available to pay a creditor who provides necessary goods and services to either spouse. Some states provide an exemption if the spouses are legally separated.  This article discusses the doctrine of necessaries in the DC area, including a recent change in Virginia. 

  1. Deed Fraud May Be on the Rise – Learn How to Spot if You’re a Victim of House Theft

Rohina Husseini is a wife and mother who has resided in Springfield, Virginia, with her family for nearly a decade. Similar to most of us, she gets a lot of junk mail and often doesn’t pay any attention to it. Things seemed weird when in 2019 mail started coming to her home repeatedly addressed to another person. Husseini knew something wasn’t right. She soon discovered that a total stranger was now, purportedly, in the county court records the legal owner of her brick rambler worth about $525,000! According to the deed recorded in Fairfax County land records bearing her forged signature, she no longer owned HER home!

      1. Is Medicaid Going to Want Us to Pay Them Back? 

Medicaid Estate Recovery happens regularly in all 50 states and DC, and when families have not planned in advance to avoid this, the consequences can be disastrous.  For example, a woman had Lewy body dementia, and Medicaid paid for her care. When she died, the state sent the family a letter that they owed over $200,000 in recovery payments! 

Scared Yet? If Not, Here’s Something Really Scary! 

If all those articles weren’t enough to scare our readers, here’s something really scary: Nursing homes in the DC Metro area cost $12,000-$16,000 a month, an amount that will quickly wipe out all of the money you have worked your entire life to earn — if you don’t properly prepare for long-term care. 

If you are now even a little bit frightened, please know that we can help you eliminate these fears. We specialize in Medicaid Planning, also called Medicaid asset protection planning, life care planning, and long-term care planning — all designed to help people like you overcome these legal and financial fears associated with aging. We give our clients the well-deserved peace of mind knowing that their entire states won’t be wiped out if nursing home care is necessary. If you haven’t met with us yet to discuss Medicaid planning, estate planning, or incapacity planning, please call us to make an appointment: 

Fairfax Medicaid Planning: 703-691-1888
Fredericksburg Medicaid Planning: 540-479-1435
Rockville Medicaid Planning: 301-519-8041
DC Medicaid Planning: 202-587-2797 

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.