Caution: Our Top 10 SCARIEST Articles

With Halloween upon us, it is time to present you, our dear readers, with this year’s scariest & creepiest stories.

From the nightmare of probate to court cases involving filial responsibility, we uncovered some scary ground. To celebrate Halloween, we’ve ranked our scariest articles for you to revisit (if you dare). As always, thank you for reading our newsletter and blog!

Note to our readers: if you’re someone who hates thinking about death or spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on long-term care, then you might want to stop reading. But if you’re curious, please read on. . .

10. Cool or Spooky? Funerals that Mimic Life: This recent article discusses the growing popularity of funerals that stage scenes from real life. For example, Miriam Burbank, who died at 53, spent her service sitting at a table amid miniature New Orleans Saints helmets, with a can of Busch beer at one hand and a menthol cigarette between her fingers for all who attended to see, just as she had spent a good number of her living days.

9.  Filial Responsibility: Elderly Couple May Be Responsible For Son’s Medical Bills: Filial responsibility laws have recently been increasingly getting enforced to recover medical expenses, including Medicaid payments. This article describes how Peg and Bob Mohn, who are in their 70s with a granddaughter who is about to go to college, were  expected to cover the cost of their deceased adult son’s medical expenses.

8. Will You Go Broke Paying for Long-Term Care?: According to NPR, there isn’t one state where long-term care is affordable for middle-class families. In fact, if paid out of pocket, home care services on average would consume 84% of the income of a typical older middle-income family. For nursing home care, it would consume a whopping 246%.  And these percentages are based on the national averages which are significantly lower than the rates in the DC Metro area.

7. The Five Biggest Estate Planning Mistakes: Failing to update your beneficiary forms after a divorce or death in the family can have disastrous consequences. For example, what if you left everything to your ex-spouse, while you were still married, and never made any updates.  She can then turn around and leave that money to her own children from another marriage. Read about this and some other super scary estate planning mistakes.

6. Are You Prepared For Incapacity? What would happen if you were in an accident, or had a stroke, or for another reason you suddenly became incapacitated or comatose, and were unable to make decisions for yourself? Less than a third of the population has completed Incapacity Planning documents, so for nearly 70% of Americans, family members will be forced through the nightmare of “lifetime probate.”

5. Visit Your Parents Often. . . or Else:  In China, the “Law of Protection of Rights and Interests of the Aged” was enacted last year. The law requires the offspring of parents older than 60 to visit their parents “frequently” and make sure their financial and spiritual needs are met. If adult children refuse to do so, they must pay their parents a monthly allowance. Could this happen in the U.S.?

4. Unusual Alternatives for Disposing of Your Body After Death: In our current economy and with environmental concerns at the forefront, many people are exploring non-traditional post-mortem options, such as eternal reefs or green burial, and some spooky ones such as cryonics, and even mummification.

3. Top 10 Medicaid Myths: Many people think that Medicare will cover their nursing home expenses, but in reality it doesn’t cover one penny. This is one of the scariest misconceptions many people have about the Medicare program. This article dispels the top myths about Medicaid (which is eerily complex and should not be attempted without the help of an experienced and Certified Elder Law Attorney, such as myself).

2. Is Living at Home Hazardous to Your Health? For most seniors with dementia, staying at home is a common goal; however, it can pose certain scary risks and can prove extremely challenging for family caregivers.

1. The Nightmare of Probate: How to Avoid It: We ranked this article at number one because probate really is that scary. Probate requires frustrating intrusion by the court, lawyers, and the public into a very emotional, private, family time, and the contents of your Will, if probated, lives forever on file at the courthouse, for all to read. Additionally, it takes a long time and the process costs a lot — an average of five to eight percent of your family estate is often taken by probate out of the hands of your beneficiaries and given to the courts and other outside individuals.

Do you know what else is really scary? Nursing homes in DC and Northern Virginia cost $10,000-$14,000 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 officially freaked out, and if you or a loved one has not done Long-Term Care Planning, Estate Planning, or Incapacity Planning (or had your Planning documents reviewed in the past several years), please call The Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax, 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg, or 202-587-2797 in Washington, DC to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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