Need advice about living with parent as caregiver and how to protect my living situation should something happen to Mom.

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My daughter and I have lived with my parents for 5 years; the last 3 as a caregiver. My brother (sorta controlling) took over POA for finances once my Dad recently passed away. My concern is what he will try if my Mom passes away. Will he rush to sell the house and put me out? I can't work cause I can't leave her alone and I go to school, but my daughter stays with her that one night. I feel stuck and scared at the same time. I badly want to work and save some money so if I have to get a place, I can. Any suggestions? I don't know anyone else in this position. Thanks so much in advance!


You should be getting paid for the caregiving you are doing. Since you are concerned about "what he will try" I take it that you and your brother don't have a trusting, friendly relationship. If I'm wrong, discuss your need to get paid with him. It sounds like Mother is still in her right mind. Is that the case? Discuss with her your need to be paid. Then I suggest that you consult a lawyer who specialized in Elder Law. (The specialty is important.) Explain your situation and have a contract drawn up for Personal Care Services. If your mother is still competent she can sign it and then direct your brother to pay you.

POA ends at your mother's death. What happens to the house then depends on her will, or on state law if she doesn't have a will, and also may be impacted by whether she has to go on Medicaid at some point. If the value of the house is to be divided between you and your brother, then you would either have to buy him out or let the house be sold and receive your half of the cash.

There are a lot of "ifs" in this scenario. Others may be able to get more specific if you can tell us if Mother is currently competent to make her own decisions, the nature of your relationship with your brother, the nature of your relationship with your mother, and whether any of you have ever considered you being paid for caregiving.
What Jeanne said. You should be getting paid. You also need to consider what will happen if she needs to go to a NH, and her savings are exhausted. Medicaid might take the house.

You are wise to be looking into this matter now. The elder lawyer can help. Best wishes.
I agree that you should be getting paid! Go see that attorney ASAP..
How old is your daughter? I'm in a similar position to yours, except that with my children grown and gone at least I don't have that to worry about - it'll just be me heading off to the homeless shelter! Sorry, I know it's really not funny…

I sympathise, truly. Apart from the worry and insecurity, I find it just plain galling that my older siblings are in a position where whether they want it or not, and whether I like it or not, my life is their business. Frankly, it's humiliating. Makes it very difficult to have a calm, unemotional, practical discussion about financial planning: you're not seeking any favours, you just want to know where you stand so you can make sensible plans. I don't know why it should be so hard, it just is.

I'm getting some professional advice next week - if I pick up any helpful tips, I'll pass them on.
I agree you should be paid as a caregiver. The amount would depend on how much financially you contribute toward living there. If your mother has a will, her assets will be distributed according to what is written, which could mean selling of the house. If your mother becomes medicaid ellegible and uses it, her estate could be subjected to the Medicaid Recovery Estate Act. You say you moved in five years ago, but only started caregiving three years ago. What was the reason for moving back into your mom's home? You are not alone in this situation. There are many adult children living with their parents providing caregiving for many reasons. The one thing in common is no foresight was considered when jumping into the role as caregiver and what the future outcome would become.
Since you are the caregiver, one thing you can do is talk to your mother about willing the house to you alone as part of your payment for providing care to her. Since you have been her caregiver for 3 years now and may have kept her from having to go into a nursing home, you would protect this asset if your mother has to go on Medicaid. States differ in how they handle this. Some will relinquish any claim they have on the state. Others will grant what is called a life estate, where recovery is postponed until you move (if you ever do).

This seems like it might be ideal for your circumstance. Talk to your mother about it and see what she thinks.
The above should read: "Some (states) will reliquish any claim they have on the house." :)
Often times if a child has been caring for a parent that requires 24/7 care as documented by a doctor for two years, then mom needs nursing home, runs out of assets except the house, Medicaid will not take the home if the caregiver will become impoverished. They do not want to create a new generation of welfare or Medicaid recipient from the caregiver. This is why in many states the home can be deeded to the caregiver if they have been caring for parent for two years prior to the need for a nursing home. Don't think that would apply to assisted living, but probably would for memory care.

But different states have different rules, check with an elder law attorney. There is a site AVVO where you can ask questions of attorneys in your state and receive a reply at no charge. If you think there is a chance that this ends up in court, make sure you retain a litigator. There are many attorneys that are good with document preparation, but you sure wouldn't want them to represent you in court.

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