Be Very Afraid: Our Top Ten Scariest Articles

With Halloween upon us, now is the time when we present you with this year’s scariest & creepiest stories.

From posthumous messages from loved ones to Alzheimer’s being contagious, 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 or proceed with caution. But if you’re curious, please read on. . .

10. Don’t Attempt this on Your Own: Should a do-it-yourselfer make updates to his or her own Will? Certainly not! This article describes what happens when Esther Sullivan leaves 50% of her property to a former employee and the other half to her grandson, and later changes her mind and the terms herself.  Ultimately, she decided to leave everything to her grandson, but the handwritten changes were not recognized by the court, and someone she no longer cared for got half of her estate

9. Please Don’t Leave that to Me!: What happens when your aunt Betty leaves you her collection of 6,000 barbie dolls, with specific instructions on how to display them? Or, someone leaves you firearms or a vacation home you have to maintain? Find out how to plan for unique assets, such as these.

8. Straying from Loved Ones: An autistic boy was found wandering near the train tracks; an 80-year old woman with dementia wandered out of her home while her caregiver was taking a shower. Statistics show that half of all children with autism, and 3 out of 5 people with dementia, wander. This article describes what is being done to prevent wandering, in both situations.

7. Alzheimer’s Diagnosis is Rarely Disclosed to Patients: Your loved one may have Alzheimer’s, and not even know it! The Alzheimer’s Association’s 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, released last month, found that only 45% of people with Alzheimer’s disease had been told of their diagnosis in the early stages. That means that 55% of those surveyed were not informed until the disease was more advanced. This article explains why this is happening.

6. Is Alzheimer’s Contagious? It has long been believed that Alzheimer’s is caused only by age and genetics, but new research says person-to-person transmission of the protein that causes Alzheimer’s may be a possibility. This article discusses a study, published in the journal Nature, that suggests that the degenerative neurological disease can be spread between humans through use of surgical instruments.

5. 70% of Americans turning 65 will need Long-Term Care:  Americans underestimate the risk of developing a disability and needing long-term services and supports (LTSS). According to an ASPE brief, one in seven adults will have a disability for more than five years and, on average, an American turning 65 today will incur $266,000 in future LTSS costs. This article describes how to plan in advance for these catastrophic costs.

4. $10,000 a month! Why don’t they take it seriously?: The median annual cost for a private nursing home room is $91,250 a year, up a stunning 4.17% from a year ago. In the Metro DC area, a semi-private nursing home room runs on average $107,858 a year, up 6%, while a private room runs $124,374 a year, also up 6%. Yet, many families don’t feel a sense of urgency to plan. This article explains how you can talk to your loved ones about long-term care so they have a bona fide strategy for when the time comes.

3. How to Transport Cremains: Passengers may transport cremains as part of their carry-on luggage or, depending on the airline, as checked baggage. In addition, cremains can be legally shipped by the U.S. Postal Service, using USPS Priority Mail Express® Service only. FedEx won’t do it, nor will the United Parcel Service. This article provides all of the details you need to transport cremains.

2. Spooky or Reassuring? Posthumous Messages from Loved Ones: How can you keep an “after death message” from being revealed too early, or getting into the wrong hands, and what should you consider before you begin recording your post-death message? This article explores the best way to lay out more emotional messages not appropriate for a will, and details about digital assets and laws regarding them.

1. Filial Responsibility Revisited Filial responsibility always makes for a scary situation, and this year, it’s our scariest article. A husband sued his wife’s children to pay him monthly for the care of their mother in a dementia unit, and they were ordered to pay him $2,000 a month over and above the actual cost of her care. This article explores how parents can also be responsible for debts of adult children, and it’s becoming more common than in the past.

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 us to make an appointment for a consultation:

Fairfax Elder Law: 703-691-1888 
Fredericksburg Elder Law: 540-479-1435 
Rockville Elder Law: 301-519-8041 
DC Elder Law: 202-587-2797
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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.