Family Caregiver Agreements, and “Getting back on the Horse”

GETTING BACK ON THE HORSE!  Well, every spring it’s bound to happen.  My horse is 17 years old, but he doesn’t act like it.  Every spring the warmer air causes him to get a special “spring” in his step (pun intended) and often he will buck!  While riding last weekend, he bucked, and I found myself sailing through the air.  Mid-air, I thought, “I hope this ends well!”  Thankfully, it did!  I had a soft landing, some sore muscles the next few days, and a bruised ego, but otherwise, I was still in one piece!  Nonetheless, after this incident, I took the opportunity to do what all of us should do on a fairly regular basis:  I reviewed my Last Will & Testament and my powers of attorney.  None of us can predict when accidents happen!  The best thing about reviewing your estate planning documents periodically is to know that you have prepared the best we can.  I reviewed my documents, so don’t forget to review yours!

FAMILY CAREGIVER AGREEMENTS

More and more, my clients find themselves either caring for a parent, or a parent client finds themselves in need of care, often provided by a son or daughter.  Some clients have sold their homes and have moved in with a son or daughter.  On occasion, a child has moved in with a parent to help the parent with care needs.  In some instances, the situation involves a son or daughter taking time to buy groceries and drop them off, cook on occasion, and arrange for and drive their parent to doctors appointments, etc.  If you find yourself in this situation, I recommend you consider a caregiving contract where the son or daughter is paid a reasonable fee for the care being given to the parent.  Caregiver agreements accomplish many goals, including:  (1) allowing the son or daughter to be compensated for time he or she is unable to work (or taking time off of work) to provide care, drive mom or dad to the doctor, shop, help with a bath or shower, cooking, dressing, etc.; (2) avoid “gifting” penalties from Medicaid (Title 19 or XIX); and (3) provide a medical expense deduction if the parent otherwise qualifies for Aid and Attendance benefits from the VA.

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