Avvo Didn’t Take Too Kindly to Goat Lawyer

This morning I committed Avvocide. That is, I edited my Avvo profile in such a way that it caught the attention a community guideline guy at the company. At least for a short period of time, though, people searching for a Goat Lawyer could find one. Me. I even got a rousing endorsement from a fellow lawyer.

Alas, my profile was stripped within a few hours and I’ve been reduced again to a mere mortal, at least by Avvo standards. Surprisingly, though, I got boosted to a 9.2 rating as Goat Lawyer. I’m now an 8.1, and probably dropping fast. Plus, I seem to have been stripped of certain privileges that go with being a non-goat lawyer.

If you missed Goat Lawyer, here’s what it looked like for a short period of time this morning.

Goat Lawyer

Giving Thanks for Growing Older

As we get older, simple things like tying our shoes become challenging and that quick memory we took for granted when we were younger suddenly evades us. It is easy to get caught up in what we have lost, but let’s not forget about all that we have now, and what we have to look forward to in the future.

Below are some of the things many seniors are thankful for:

  • Watching our children grow up. As parents, we spent many sleepless nights worrying about our children, laughing with them, crying with them, and celebrating their achievements and accomplishments. If your children are now all grown up, and perhaps you are a grandparent, catch up on sleep and think about how fortunate you are.
  • Gaining wisdom with age. Having attained a more seasoned age, many people have gained wisdom from life’s experiences, including becoming more patient with others, being more tolerant in uncomfortable situations, and being appreciative of each day and moment we live. It is rarely an easy path, but if we are learning at each step along the way, it can be a wonderful and productive journey.
  • Perfecting our relationship with our spouse. No one knows us better and no one loves us more than our spouse, partner, or significant other. With regular effort on both sides, as we grow older, the relationship deepens and continues to bring us happiness.

As a senior citizen, there are moments and memories that make our life meaningful. We accumulate these experiences over the years and appreciate them along the way. This Thanksgiving, take time to reflect on all you have and all you are thankful for. We at the Farr Law Firm are thankful for you, our clients, and hope that you have a happy and healthy holiday!

P.S. Remember, as you are taking the time to reflect, the greatest peace of mind comes with planning for your future and for your loved ones. 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 no-cost consultation.

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Kiss Ass Like a Twitter Pro

Today, we are excited to launch Big Legal Brain’s “Gray Matter Twitter Pro Series,” a series to help attorneys optimize Twitter and, oh, screw it. It’s complicated and technologically advanced, which is why you need to listen up.

Our first lesson is how to livetweet from a really important conference. Let’s say you are attending a legal tech show or a legal marketing conference and are in a breakout session about social media. For kicks, you stop playing Candy Crush on your iPad and decide to livetweet the session. Why? Who knows. There are already 248 people in the audience doing the same thing. But, as we like to say in the industry, it’s your iPad, your time, and someone else’s bandwidth. And knowing new Twitter users like you, you’d probably end up with something like this:


Pretty lousy start if you are trying to impress brand mongers. Try again. This time at least say something more exciting and engaging.


A little better, but where are you? Who are you talking about? In other words, what’s your hashtag? Remember, a hashtag is the number symbol followed by the agreed upon letter combination that conference organizers and brand strategists have spent weeks developing. Try again.


OK. We’ll grant you the excitement of livetweeting, which can make you and thousands of football fans a bit giddy. But, really, to help people engage with your brand, be a bit more specific about where you are and what you are seeing or doing.


Good. Almost got it, but don’t be such a doob. Use the number symbol (“#”) to indicate the hashtag. If you use it properly, it should turn a different color, in our case blue.


Good. You got the hashtag down and now 1,200 people are retweeting your news and scrambling to get to Ballroom A to tweet more about Seth Rogen. Keep going.


Awesome. You didn’t make any friends by mistaking the presenter with Seth Rogen, but they’ll get over it. Now, at this point, to build your brand, you need to start the positive spin. No one on Twitter who is worth their salt in brand management EVER says anything negative. EVER. So, move quickly and strongly to the positive, and start to drop a name or two.


Two great developments here. First, you dropped a name. Not the right name, but suddenly you’ve increased your chances of being followed by NFL football fans, Vikings fans in particular. But we digress. The other thing you did right was the inclusion of “interesting.” It expresses an opinion that is appropriately non-committal but says that you are engaged. Nice work. Keep going.


Awesome. Now you’ve managed to drop two names, both incorrect, but both have serious Klout and skads of followers, one of which is directly engaged in social media for lawyers. The larping comment is also a nice touch, but we hope you are kidding. Now, for the final draft tweet, the one that you should soon be able to do in your sleep:


Yes! You nailed it. You dropped the name of a thought genius, used the word “interesting,” even threw in a “learning a lot” to show that you know how to kiss the presenter’s ass. You even imply that you are engaged in social media tribing, or at least know how to spell it. Nice work!

Again, we know it’s not easy. We know that your initial impulse is to be honest and to say things like “meh” or “sucks.” Don’t go there. Stay cloyingly positive, dishonestly friendly even. While it may seem counterintuitive to be dishonest in building a brand, intuition and honesty don’t resonate well with customers or end-product users. Neither do gut feelings. Just go with what people say you should say. That’s what we do, and it’s working out pretty well.

Post image by Retis on Flickr.com

Caregiver Contracts are a Growing Trend

Nearly 44 million adult caregivers (21 percent of the U.S. adult population) provide care to seniors or adults with disabilities. On average, these caregivers provide 21 hours of care a week; and the average length of time spent providing care is 4.3 years (source: AARP).

Many caregivers have to balance their family duties with their real jobs. Nearly 60 percent of caregivers either work or have worked while providing care, the study found, with many having to make adjustments to their work life, including giving up their jobs entirely.

Even though most family members want to help and feel a sense of duty to care for a loved one, it is a job with heavy time commitments and responsibilities. One way of protecting the caregiver, as well as the person receiving care (and legally protect assets in the process), is by having the care recipient pay the caregiver pursuant to a written agreement. A growing number of people are entering into such caregiver contracts (also called personal service or personal care agreements) with their family members.

A caregiver contract is most commonly between an adult child or and his/her parent, but other relatives may be involved, such as an adult grandchild caring for a grandparent. It can offer family caregivers security that they will not suffer undue financial consequences. At the same time, the agreement can also offer the care recipient peace of mind that she or he has a caring advocate to manage care needs.

Drawing up an agreement clarifies for a family what tasks are expected in return for a stated compensation. These agreements can help avoid family conflicts about who will provide care and how much money will change hands. For this reason, the agreement should be discussed with other family members to resolve any concerns before an agreement is finalized.

A caregiver contract must be in writing and should include the following:

  • Date the care begins.
  • The caregiver’s duties.
  • The length of the contact.
  • During what hours services will be provided.
  • The location where services are to be provided – the home of the care recipient or home of the caregiver.   In the event of the latter, then there may also be a payment for room and board incorporated into the agreement.
  • Payment details for care provided in the future (not for services already performed).
  • Compensation for care must be reasonable. This means it should not be more than what would be paid to a third party for the same care in your state or geographic area. Tasks performed should match “reasonable” or “customary” fees typically charged for those services.
  • When and how the caregiver will be compensated (weekly or twice a month).
  • A statement that the terms of the agreement can be modified only by mutual agreement of the parties in writing.
  • Other sources of payment. If the elder does not have enough money to pay his or her caregiver (or wants to save on the expenses by tapping into available benefits), there may be other sources of payment, such as the Veterans Aid and Attendance Special Pension Benefit, which allows a family member to be the paid caregiver. Some long-term care insurance policies cover family caregivers, but usually the family caregiver must be a licensed health care professional. Also, Medicaid can sometimes compensate family caregivers, but the caregiver must typically be a licensed home health-care professional working with a Medicaid-approved agency.
  • Taxes. Keep in mind that there are tax consequences. The caregiver will have to pay taxes on the income he or she receives.

Keep in mind that a Caregiver Contract can be a key part of Medicaid and VetAt the Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we recognize that caring for a loved one strains even the most resilient people. If you’re a caregiver, take steps to preserve your own health and well-being.  Part of taking care of yourself is planning for your future and for your loved ones. Please call us at our Virginia Elder Law Fairfax office at 703-691-1888 or at our Virginia Elder Law Fredericksburg office at 540-479-1435 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.erans Asset Protection planning. Therefore, when contemplating entering into a caregiver contract, be sure to use an experienced Elder Law Firm such as our firm to draft the contract, especially if qualifying for Medicaid is a goal.

P.S. During this month, which is National Family Caregiver’s Month, and this week, in which we celebrate Thanksgiving, we want to extend our gratitude to all caregivers. Thank you for your hard work and commitment to caring for your loved ones.

Fairfax Estate Planning

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Government Seeks Dismissal Of Challenge To Birth Control Mandate

Ask Liza: Annual Gifts and Lifetime Gifts

Dear Liza, I would like to give my son $200k to upgrade homes. Can me and my wife each give $13,000 to my son, daughter in law, and two grand children? That would be $102,000, and then apply the remaining…

Government Opposes Summary Judgment For Plaintiffs In Birth Control Case

Ask Liza: Annual Gifts and Lifetime Gifts

Dear Liza, I would like to give my son $200k to upgrade homes. Can me and my wife each give $13,000 to my son, daughter in law, and two grand children? That would be $102,000, and then apply the remaining…

Motions For Injunction, Class Certification, Dismissal Filed In Birth Control Suit

Ask Liza: Annual Gifts and Lifetime Gifts

Dear Liza, I would like to give my son $200k to upgrade homes. Can me and my wife each give $13,000 to my son, daughter in law, and two grand children? That would be $102,000, and then apply the remaining…

D.C. Federal Judge Transfers Case Challenging Birth Control Mandate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A District of Columbia federal judge on Nov. 5 granted the federal government’s request to transfer a suit challenging the birth control mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to another federal court, saying the plaintiffs engaged in forum shopping in their choice of where to file the suit (M N Plastics Inc., et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., No. 13-919, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157945).

Man Asks Appeals Court To Reverse Dismissal Of Individual Mandate Suit

Ask Liza: Annual Gifts and Lifetime Gifts

Dear Liza, I would like to give my son $200k to upgrade homes. Can me and my wife each give $13,000 to my son, daughter in law, and two grand children? That would be $102,000, and then apply the remaining…

Fixes To Health Care Act Rollout Problems Sought, Proposed

Ask Liza: Annual Gifts and Lifetime Gifts

Dear Liza, I would like to give my son $200k to upgrade homes. Can me and my wife each give $13,000 to my son, daughter in law, and two grand children? That would be $102,000, and then apply the remaining…

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