Category Archives: Announcements

Ask the Expert- Why is Autism So Common Now?

Written by Evan Farr

Q. My ten year old son, Cole, was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) when he was six. He is in a class of 20 children and there are two other boys and a girl who also have an ASD, all ranging in severity. These children spend half the time in the typical class and half the time in special education. When I was growing up, the only person I knew with autism was my friend’s brother, who didn’t talk and was very anxious about being around others. Why is ASD so common now, as opposed to 30 years ago, and what can I and other parents do to plan for our special needs children?

A. Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. ASD affects each person in different ways, thus their impairment can range from mild to severe, but all those afflicted with autism share problems with social interaction.

What we know now is that there is no one cause of autism just as there is no one type. Different genes increase the probability of a child developing autism. We know that children who have a sibling or parent with autism are at a much higher risk of also having the condition or another developmental disorder. Genes may be affected by advanced parental age at time of conception.

But why is autism’s prevalence increasing? Thirty years ago, the rate of autism was typically quoted as 4 in 10,000. The most recent rate reported is 1 in 50. This is an alarming increase from one in every 88 children reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just four years ago.  Factors that have brought the startling levels of autism to our attention include:

  • Better Understanding: Thirty years ago, autism was first introduced as a separate diagnostic category in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III (DSM-3). Prior to that time, clinicians using the DSM applied other categories such as childhood schizophrenia.
  • More Awareness: Since the early ‘80’s, there has been extraordinary growth in awareness – both for professionals and parents. Pediatricians now screen for early warning signs, as do parents. These actions have all led to a much greater awareness of the symptoms of autism which has translated to more diagnoses being made. In addition, the increased awareness has permitted older kids to be diagnosed when the signs earlier in life were not recognized as autism.
  • Expansion of the Symptoms: Diagnostic changes that recognized autism as a spectrum, now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), have helped capture the wide range of symptoms that go beyond “classic” autism. These symptoms can include social, communicative, and repetitive/stereotyped behaviors. Since autism became a spectrum disorder, many youth were diagnosed who would not have been in past years.
  • Changes in Etiological Factors: Less understood is the role of new causative factors that increase the risk for ASD. Much attention is being given to environmental factors and there is the suggestion that specific genetic mutations may be linked to autism.

Autism has come a long way in the past 30 years. We know now that autism is very common and that it may be influenced by genetic and environmental risk factors that are not well understood at this time. For these reasons, it is important for doctors, scientists, and awareness groups to keep researching the causes of autism, and to continue to promote awareness of the early signs and symptoms in order to support early diagnosis and intervention.

How can you plan for your son? More than $13 billion a year is spent to care for individuals with autism.  For the average affected family, this translates to $30K per year.  Many parents believe that needs-based programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid will be enough to take care of their family members with special needs when they are gone.  This is a common misconception.

SSI is the federal needs based program that many special needs children and adults may be eligible for if they meet certain income limits. Many special needs children and adults may also get Medicaid to pay for hospital stays, doctor bills, prescription drugs, and other health costs.  However, once a person with special needs exceeds the $2,000 a year resource limit, he or she is no longer eligible for SSI or Medicaid.

Twenty million American families have at least one member with special needs, such as ASD, cerebral palsy, mental illness, blindness, and others.  Parents of those with special needs are tasked with planning for their children throughout their lifetime, as many of them will outlive their parents but might not be able to support themselves and live independently.

We here at The Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., know that the majority of American families who have a loved one with special needs require a Special Needs Trust.  These families typically have very little in tangible assets, second mortgages on their homes, and little to no savings (likely due to paying for the costly therapies). As a parent or guardian, you want to ensure that your child with special needs will remain financially secure even when you are no longer there to provide support.  A Special Needs Trust is a vehicle that provides assets from which a disabled person can maintain his or her quality of life, while still remaining eligible for needs-based programs that will cover basic health and living expenses.

In your situation, you can create a Special Needs Trust to benefit Cole that provides instructions as to the level of care you want for him. After you are gone, the people you have chosen to manage the trust (trustees) can spend money on certain defined expenses for Cole’s benefit without compromising his eligibility for needs based programs.

We invite you to call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation with The Fairfax Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr P.C. to learn more about special needs planning.

Evan Farr Honored as “Leader in the Law”

Written by Evan Farr

Virginia Lawyers Weekly is a publication both online and in print — it is a very reputable and respected source of legal news.

“Virginia Lawyers Media, the publisher of Virginia Lawyers Weekly, has announced the 2012 class of ‘Leaders in the Law.’”

The Farr Law Firm is proud to announce our very own principal attorney, Evan H. Farr, has been selected as a member of the class of 2012!

Here are just a few of Evan’s accomplishments in recent months:

Evan co-authored (along with other top attorneys from across the country), a consumer-oriented book, entitled “Protect & Defend.” Americans proved their desire to learn more about protecting their assets: the book ranked #1 on two best seller lists and made it on to a total of four best seller lists total.  The book is available on Amazon currently.

Evan is also the President of the Virginia Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  He has been an integral part of the push towards developing and mastering legal strategies to help middle class citizens broadly speaking.  Specifically, Evan’s Living Trust Plus™ is a trust Evan has studied and mastered and uses to protect assets from general creditors as well as long-term care creditors.  This type of trust is regarded is highly complex, which is one why reason clients are often so thrilled and surprised when they learn of its capabilities and how it can literally change their life and their loved ones’ lives, too.  In fact, Evan started a national network of attorneys to license  software for the Living Trust Plus™ so attorneys across the country could easily start implementing it into practice, helping the middle class members in their communities.  His website, LivingTrustPlus.com, brings in traffic from across the U.S., where visitors can then search for attorneys in their state whom Evan has licensed.

Once again, the Farr Law Firm and Evan Farr are honored to have received such a distinction.

“this awards program recognizes the lawyers across the commonwealth who are setting the standard for other lawyers in Virginia. “Leaders” are recognized for changing the law, serving the community, changing practice or improving Virginia’s justice system.” – VirigniaLawyersWeekly.com

Certified Elder Law Attorney Evan Farr Signs Publishing Deal With CelebrityPress To Release “Protect and Defend”

Written by Evan Farr

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Certified Elder Law Attorney Evan Farr Signs Publishing Deal With CelebrityPress To Release “Protect and Defend”

Evan Farr, Medicaid Asset Protection expert, has signed a publishing deal with CelebrityPress, a leading book publishing company, along with other leading legal experts to release “Protect and Defend: Proven Strategies from America’s Leading Attorneys to help you Protect and Defend Your Business, Family and Wealth.”

Fairfax, Va. – May 8, 2012 Evan Farr, Certified Elder Law Attorney, has joined a select group of America’s leading attorneys to co-write the forthcoming book titled, “Protect and Defend: Proven Strategies from America’s Leading Attorneys to help you Protect and Defend Your Business, Family and Wealth.” Nick Nanton, Esq. along with business partner, JW Dicks, Esq., recently signed a publishing deal with each of these authors to contribute their expertise to the book, which will be released under their CelebrityPress™ label.

Evan Farr is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts in the fields of Medicaid Asset Protection and Medicaid trusts. Evan is the Principal Attorney of the Farr Law Firm, an Elder Law firm serving Virginia, DC, and Maryland, and dedicated to helping protect seniors and their families by preserving dignity, quality of life, and financial security. Evan has been named by Virginia Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top 5% of attorneys in VA since 2007, and by Washington, DC Super Lawyers Magazine as one of the top 5% of attorneys in DC since 2008.  In 2011, Evan was named by Washingtonian Magazine as one of the top attorneys in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, and was named in Newsweek Magazine as one of the top attorneys in the country.

A nationally-renowned author and Continuing Legal Education speaker, Evan Farr has educated tens of thousands of attorneys across the country through speaking and writing for numerous national legal organizations, including ALI-ABA, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Business Institute, and the National Constitution Center, as well as his own Elder Law Institute for Training and Education (ELITE), through which he coaches and trains other elder law attorneys around the country, providing them with specialized software and practice-enhancement systems such as the Living Trust Plus™ Asset Protection System used by dozens of attorneys across the nation. Evan is also a well-known public media figure, having been quoted or cited as an elder law expert by the Washington Post, Newsweek Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, Trusts & Estates Magazine, The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the American Bar Association, and has appeared on television on PBS, MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.

The forthcoming book, Protect and Defend: Proven Strategies from America’s Leading Attorneys to help you Protect and Defend Your Business, Family and Wealth, will feature strategies from some of America’s leading legal minds to help businesses and families navigate the often cumbersome nature of the today’s legal system.  Some of the topics covered include how to keep your house from foreclosure, offering compromise with the IRS, veteran’s benefits, alcohol related cases, injury settlements, health insurance, asset protection for the middle class, and much more. The book is tentatively scheduled to be available in the summer of 2012.

To learn more about Evan Farr, creator of the Living Trust Plus™ Asset Protection Trust, and to learn how you can legally and ethically protect you or your client’s assets from nursing home expenses, visit the Living Trust Plus™ Web site at http://www.LivingTrustPlus.com or the Farr Law Firm’s website at http://www.FarrLawFirm.com, or call Toll-Free 1-800-399-FARR.

About Celebrity Press™:

Celebrity Press™ is a leading business, health and wellness book publisher that publishes books from thought leaders around the world. Celebrity Press™ has published books alongside Jack Canfield, Brian Tracy, Dan Kennedy, Dr. Ivan Misner, Robert Allen and many of the biggest experts across diverse fields. CelebrityPress™ has helped launch over 500 best-selling authors to date.

If you’d like to learn more about Celebrity Press™ or to see if we’re a good fit for your book project, please visit http://www.celebritypresspublishing.com/contact-us

 

###

Contact:

Matt Collins

Dicks and Nanton Celebrity Branding Agency®

800-980-1626

Matt@CelebrityBrandingAgency.com

Sneak Peek: “Inside an Evan Farr Seminar”

Written by Evan Farr

Virginia Elder Law Seminar Video PreviewHave you thought about attending one of The Farr Law Firm’s Living Trust Plus Seminars in the past, but haven’t had a free weekend?

Know a neighbor or loved one who might benefit from attending?  Below you will find two clips giving you an exclusive sneak-preview of just a couple of the topics Evan will be discussing this Saturday, March 10th. RSVP Here.

What is Your Worst Fear?

Does a Will Avoid Probate?

Don’t Forget to RSVP Here Before We’re Full!

Seminar Tomorrow: Families Coping with Alzheimer’s

Written by Evan Farr

Attention: Families Coping with Alzheimer’s:

You may be interested in attending an upcoming seminar that will combine the expertise of two well-known experts in their respective fields:  Elder Law Attorney Evan Farr and Financial Advisor Eric Bost.

Eric Bost

Attendees will learn:

• How to evaluate the costs of the various care options available
• What benefits you may receive to help offset these costs
• How to protect and invest your assets to maintain your lifestyle

When are the Seminars Taking Place?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 or
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What Time Should I Arrive?

6:30 p.m.

Where are the Seminars Taking Place?

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney,
1650 Tysons Blvd, Suite 1000
McLean, VA 22102

How do I RSVP?

Please contact Tu Nguyen, Registered Marketing Associate
at 703-556-8185 or e-mail tu1.nguyen@mssb.com
to reserve your space. Seating is limited.

How Sponsoring a Phone Bank on Veterans Issues can Make Your Business Boom

Written by Evan Farr

Working with both veterans and seniors each and every day, we know that the veterans aid and attendance benefit is often overlooked.  Elder law attorneys can help veterans understand the intersection between this pension benefit and Medicaid; this is vital to these individuals’ long-term care planning needs.

To educate the public, The Farr Law Firm is interested in joining with ABC 7 for the purpose of conducting a phone bank to take caller’s questions about veterans pension benefits and long-term care.

The Farr Law Firm and ABC 7 (WJLA.com) seeks a corporate sponsor for the upcoming phone bank.

How it Works:

ABC 7 will host the call-in phone bank event in which viewers will be encouraged on-air in the 5-6:30p news to call in and engage with representatives from The Farr Law Firm to answer questions about services and capabilities offered.

Phone Bank Promotion

The week of the phone bank, ABC7 will run promotional ads to make viewers aware of this unique opportunity.  Promos will include sponsor logo and visibility at the event.

Should your business consider sponsoring the phone bank?  It depends on if veterans and senior citizens are important to your business.  Are you a senior service provider?  Is your businesses’ goodwill largely dependent on this demographic?  If so, your business is a prime candidate and this is a great opportunity to promote your business and gain goodwill at the same time.

If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, email Brent a Brent@FarrLawFirm, subject line “Phone Bank,”  for more details.

Case Example: Importance of a Properly Drafted Irrevocable Income-Only Trust

Written by Evan Farr

Hedlund Medicaid Asset protection Virginia TrustsSome attorneys and others interested in the field of Medicaid Asset Protection may have been a bit worried about a recent case arising out of Wisconsin — Hedlund v. Wisconsin Dept. of Health Services (Wis. Ct. App., No. 2010AP3070, Oct. 13, 2011)

The basics of the case

In this case, the court affirmed a ruling that a Medicaid applicant who transferred assets to her children, who in turn put those same assets into an irrevocable trust for the Medicaid applicant’s benefit, is ineligible for Medicaid because the trust is a countable asset under state law,  despite the fact that the transfer occurred 17 years prior to applying for Medicaid.

Don’t Worry!

If you are an estate planning or elder law attorney offering pre-crisis Medicaid asset protection through the proper use of an irrevocable, income-only trust, it need not cause you any worry.

And if you are not an attorney but have created the right type of irrevocable, income-only asset protection trust, you, too need not worry.  The irrevocable, income-only asset protection trust I provide my own clients with is the Living Trust Plus™ — I’m happy to say the trust is just as effective as ever.

The opinion was released October 13th and is a case-in-point example of how an improperly drafted irrevocable trust, along with a badly executed asset protection plan, will fail.  More information on the Living Trust Plus™ is available here.

The question before the court

medicaid asset protection and the living trust plusThe question for the court, based on its interpretation of a Wisconsin statute, was whether the trust was established by the children “at the direction or upon the request of” the Medicaid applicant.

Although the trust instrument in this case was irrevocable, the trust bore no relation to an income-only trust, but rather was a trust established by the children of the Medicaid applicant, using the exact assets previously gifted by the parents to the children.

This trust was apparently intended to be some sort of special needs trust because the trust instrument provided that the income and corpus of the trust were to be used only when no other funds are available and to supplement any funds the beneficiaries were entitled to receive as social security and medical assistance benefits.

However, though not addressed by the court, the trust was clearly defective as a special needs trust because the stated purpose of the trust was “to provide for the support and welfare of Clarence and Lucille Hedlund,” and a trust intended to provide for “support and welfare” is clearly not a special needs trust.

Why the court ruled the way it did

Most  importantly, the trust did not prohibit trust corpus from being distributed to the Settlors. On the contrary, the trust provided that the income and corpus of the trust were available to the Settlors.

So once the finding was made that the trust assets were “assets of the individual or the individual’s spouse” and “were used to form all or part of the corpus of the trust,” the finding that the assets were fully available to the Medicaid applicant was absolutely correct, because the trust allowed corpus to be used for the benefit of the Medicaid applicant.

Virginia medicaid asset protectionA properly- prepared income-only trust, such as the Living Trust Plus™, would have avoided this result, because the Living Trust Plus™ is a trust that offers true asset protection in connection with Medicaid eligibility, as well as in connection with all other creditors.

For information on the Farr Law Firm’s service (Level 3) – The Living Trust Plus™ — follow this link and view the .PDF file. You may also notice other services you may need or have not thought of.  Planning for long-term care (whether for you or a spouse or a parent) is a difficult mental hurdle.  But the sooner you start, the more assets you can protect and the better quality and dignity of life loved ones can enjoy.

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Evan Farr Featured as a “Top Elder Law Attorney” in Washingtonian Magazine

Written by Evan Farr

Less than a week ago, the Farr Law Firm announced that our principal attorney,  Evan H. Farr, was featured in Newsweek Magazine, the second-largest weekly news magazine in the U.S.  If you missed that announcement, you can view it here.

Today, we are pleased to announce that Evan was also recently named  by Washingtonian Magazine as a “2011-2012 Top Lawyer” in the field of  Elder Law in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area.

Evan Farr Selected=

We also extend our sincere  congratulations to the eight other DC area Elder Law attorneys named on the above list!    You can view the full listing online here.

It is no secret (if you ask anyone familiar with the “system”) that Medicaid eligibility rules are the most complex and confusing maze of legal rules in existence.

The United States Supreme Court has called the Medicaid laws:

“an aggravated assault on the English language, resistant to attempts to understand it.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has called the Medicaid Act one of the:

“most completely impenetrable texts within human experience” and “dense reading of the most tortuous kind.”

Veteran’s Aid and Attendance rules are likewise also exceedingly complicated and often treacherous to navigate.  Call us today at at 703-691-1888 for a complimentary consultation with Evan Farr or to sign up for one of our upcoming seminars.  You can also click here to  register for one of our seminars online.

Evan Farr Featured in Newsweek Magazine

Written by Evan Farr

The Farr Law Firm is  Proud to Announce our Recent Recognitions :

Evan Farr was recently featured in Newsweek Magazine, the second-largest weekly news magazine in the U.S.

Evan was listed as  a “Nationwide Top Attorney”  as part of the magazine’s “Nationwide Top Attorneys 2011 Showcase,” a special advertising section.  The Nationwide Top Attorneys Showcase can be found in the December 26, 2011/January 2, 2012 issue.

This is the second time that Evan Farr has appeared in Newsweek Magazine.  In the December 28, 2009/January 4, 2010 issue of Newsweek, Evan was listed in the  ”Best of D.C. Area Lawyers” special advertising section.

About the Farr Law Firm

Using a holistic and often proprietary approach, our firm uses a vast knowledge, understanding, and deep respect of the elderly to help our elderly clients obtain the highest quality care at the lowest possible cost, which typically involves protecting assets in order to become eligible to have Medicaid and/or Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits pay for the appropriate level of care — be it home health care, assisted living care, or nursing home care.

Unfortunately, Medicaid eligibility rules are the most complex and confusing maze of legal rules in existence.  The United States Supreme Court has called the Medicaid laws “an aggravated assault on the English language, resistant to attempts to understand it.” and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has called the Medicaid Act one of the “most completely impenetrable texts within human experience” and “dense reading of the most tortuous kind.” Veteran’s Aid and Attendance rules are likewise also exceedingly complicated and often treacherous to navigate.

Let Evan Farr and the Farr Law Firm provide you with expert and experienced asset protection planning and in-depth representation in connection with Medicaid and Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, so you don’t wind up possible spending your entire life savings on long-term care, unnecessarily jeopardizing your future care and well-being, as well as the financial security of your family.

Upcoming Seminar

We are conducting a completely free, no obligation seminar this month.  Please be sure to RSVP before we reach maximum capacity!