Our Thirteen Most-Read Articles of 2013

From the sticker shock of long-term care to court cases involving filial responsibility, we covered a lot of ground in 2013. It was a year that included a 5.2 percent sequester and the release of a new DSM-5 manual that changed the definition of Autism Spectrum Disorder and eliminated the bereavement exclusion. We also saw several new and exciting studies about Alzheimer’s prevention, many new apps to help seniors stay healthy in body and mind, and the first enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace coverage. To celebrate the new year, we’ve ranked our most popular articles from last year based on open rate. Check out the list to see the year’s highlights and tell us what you’d like to see next year. As always, thank you for reading our newsletter and blog!

  1. Important Elder Law Number Updates for 2014: With a new year, comes change.  Our top article uncovers some important elder law number updates for 2014. These Key Dollar Amounts can be found on our website.
  2. Now this is SCARY! – Filial Responsibility Part 2: Currently 30 states, including Virginia, have “filial responsibility” laws that can be used by nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to seek reimbursement for unpaid bills from the children of nursing home residents if the nursing home residents cannot pay the bills themselves. This article is about a recent case in which a North Dakota man, Elden Linderkamp, had to pay $104,276.62 to a nursing home for his parents’ care.
  3. Are Children Legally Responsible for their Parents – Filial Responsibility Explained: This article focuses on the case of Maryann Pittas, whose son had to pay $93,000 for his mother’s 6-month nursing home stay. An important point in this article is that Virginia’s filial responsibility law does not apply if the parent is receiving Medicaid.  This exception is crucial to understand and means that it is essential that adult children help their parents plan to receive Medicaid if these adult children don’t want to wind up being responsible for their parent’s nursing home care as happened in the Pittas case.
  4. Ask the Expert: Gifting and the New Gift and Estate Tax Exclusion Numbers:  This article discusses how gift giving can be a risky venture for people who may need nursing home care within five years and reveals the gift and estate tax exclusion amounts for 2014.
  5. Should I Give My Home To My Children?: It is completely understandable to want to transfer your home to your children to ensure that they are provided for later and so that the home remains in the family, but it isn’t always a wise idea. This article discusses the many misconceptions that lead parents to make the wrong moves, which may have disastrous consequences in the future.
  6. Ask the Expert: Can I really save $11,000 annually if my planning is done earlier?: This article focuses on a recent study that shows that families who anticipate their needs, can save close to $11,000 a year in out of pocket expenses by planning in advance instead of waiting until a crisis.
  7. Ask the Expert: Divorcing a Loving Husband to Afford Long-Term Care: You do NOT need to divorce your spouse who is entering a nursing home, and doing so might not even accomplish your goal. This article discusses other legal and ethical strategies that experienced Elder Law attorneys such as myself can help you employ to protect 100% of your total marital assets and 100% of your income, as the healthy spouse, and get your spouse on Medicaid if and when he or she needs nursing home care.
  8. Capital Gains Tax Increases and Gifting to Lessen the Bite: There are a couple of provisions in the tax code that resulted in higher rates on income and investments for wealthier taxpayers and capital gains tax increases this year. To avoid a surprise capital gains tax bill when you file your tax return, this article contains some strategies to bypass capital gains or at least lessen the bite.
  9. The End-Of-Life Conversation: What if it NEVER happens?: It’s not easy to talk about how you want the end of your life to be. But it’s one of the most important conversations you can have with your loved ones. This article discusses how you can get started.
  10. Five Myths about Long Term Care Planning: Long-term care planning means developing your strategy and making decisions now for how you will handle things later, should the need arise for assisted living or nursing home care. This article looks at the myths that may be keeping some from planning for long-term care, and ways you and your loved ones can prepare for the future.
  11. Medicaid is NOT Just for Poor People:  This article explains how Medicaid benefits many middle to upper class seniors, primarily by covering the catastrophic costs of nursing-homes so families like your neighbors don’t have to deplete the assets it took a lifetime for them to earn.
  12. Guardianship Revisited: a Serial 911-Caller and a Bigamist: When we think of legal guardianship or conservatorship, several scenarios typically come to mind: an elderly parent with dementia; an adult who has been severely injured and can no longer take care of himself; and, increasingly, young adults who are making unsafe, dangerous, or destructive decisions. This article describes the stories of two people, a serial 911-caller and a bigamist (Reese Witherspoon’s father), and how extreme measures, such as guardianship may need to be taken to protect them from themselves.
  13. Deciding How to Distribute Your Estate: Most parents want to treat their children fairly in their estate planning, and many assume that means having their children inherit equally. This article discusses how there may be special circumstances to consider before the family pie is divided into equal parts.


Thank you for making these our top stories of 2013. We promise many new and exciting things to come in 2014! We also hope you will consider taking the advice that these articles offer. Please consider attending one of our seminars in Fairfax or Fredericksburg. As always, if you or a loved one is nearing the need for long-term care or already receiving long-term care, or if you have 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 Fairfax and Fredericksburg Long-Term Care Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for a consultation.

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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.