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Yes , you make a caregivers contract up with a lawyer. Its not your parents money to leave for inheritence, its for their care. I felt weird at first too but after a year the laywer told me that I am not taking your parents money, you are taking your siblings inheritence, and if they are not helping, then why shouldnt you. Good luck.
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Hi For my part, I felt badly charging money....so I kept a detailed diary of what I did, how long it took me and if I spent anything out of my own pocket. It did not do me any immediate good....but I was able to file a claim against the estate and was actually reimbursed more than fair market value for my time and services. It was also very interesting to see exactly how much time and money were involved in "doing something nice, but necessary" for my Mom.
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I did not ask for nor recieved any "direct" compensation for my mom's care, but in her way she was quite fair and generous. When I first moved back here and I was working and she owned the house and was still going about her normal life, I paid rent to Her, but after a couple of years (I forget the exact timeline) she herself suggested she quitclaim the house to me and I refinanced to a very reasonable payment (less than I would pay for an apartment) and took on the responsabilities of the house, she paid me no rent but insisted on paying some of the everyday household expenses, groceries, telephone (as she used it far more than I), heating and such (she insisted that the house was too cold while I run around most of the time in a t-shirt, or suffered from the heat and insisted on running the A/C most of the summer), a number of expenses. As her health deteriorated , at one point I needed a knee replacement and while I recouperated she (we) qualified for some senior help - our wonderful Tina, who workes for a place called Help At Home, as she had no significant remaining assets (the house and not much in the way of savings or IRA) through medicare she qualified for two hours a day four days a week, Tina would come in and do anything she could to help mom, usually it was cleaning and such, she would walk in the door and directly to the sink, wash the morning dishes, clean the kitchen, walk directly to the bathroom, clean that, dry and wet Swiffer the floors on both, dust the rooms downstairs, vacuum (downstairs only, in mom's areas), sometimes wash the inside windows, but if mom needed help bathing or her hair washed, she would do that too, Her helping mom was a big benefit to Me, it left me free for a couple hours to go out and do errands, grocery shop, dentist, whatever I could arrange in that time. Later we had home hospice care. Now that mom is gone I wish I could still have Tina, she became like one of the family, more than even my useless nieces. Long snd short of it - my benefits came in other ways and until her passing I was able to live within a generous budget and not penny pinch as I am going to have to learn how to do all over again now, like I did when I was first starting out in Ca. Sometimes "payment" can be arranged in other ways instead of a so-called "salary" Our arrangement was unique, but mom, in spite of the fact it was hard on me and she was not the easiest person to take care of (she wa a royal bitch and very demanding, at times, to be honest) she wanted to be fair. My job was eventually made "obsolite" (read into that whatever you wish, you are probably right) and I had to retire early but was still self-supporting, just was easier when we "propped each other up"). My sister was alive at that time too and mom wanted me to have an arrangement in which I benefitted for my work. Also she knew that my SOB bro-in-law may try grabbing the entire pie for himself (through my sister) and may even gain the power to dump her out of the house and stick her away somewhere in a home. (At one point when my dad was still alive he suggested to them that they sell the house, give the money to him and he would enlarge his house and they could come live with them! Pretty transparent and both of the would rather have slashed their wrists than live with Him under any circumstances!) She compensated me and at the same time protected her butt and insured she would have her home for her life. Would have worked out better had the bottom not dropped out of real estate values, now that mom is gone I feel as if I am stuck with a white elephant, but at least I have a home.
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Absolutely yes, you deserve a reasonable compensation, in cash or as a beneficiary. Contract is a good idea. Be careful, this caregiving thing can be like a snowball, it may be small when it starts but it builds weight and size as it rolls along.
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Certainly it is.

Different families approach services to each other in different ways. Some charge each other full price (because they are making a living, after all) and some have family discounts and some freely exchange their skills. It sees to work best if all family members have the same expectations.

I think caregiving is a category of its own. Even if your brother provides his dental services at a deep discount to family members and your sister the mechanic works on family cars without charging for labor, it is still OK to charge for caregiving. A few hours a couple times a year does't some close to the time (and emotional) committment of caregiving, and the lost opportunity for earning other income. If your loved one had to go into a nursing home, or even have paid helpers come into the home, the cost would be higher and the service less personal.

If you do decide to charge, make sure the agreement is in writing. A handshake may be fine between you and the loved one, but having it in writing provides documentation if the person later has to apply to medicaid, or other family members get their noses out of joint because their inheritence is being spent on, of all things, the loved one's needs!

Good luck to you.
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Yes, it's fine. You should not feel "guilty" or uncomfortable for considering this. If you are providing care that would otherwise have to be provided by paid home-care aides, and especially if you have quit work or cut back your hours at your job in order to do it, it's sensible to be paid.

Make sure that you have a written agreement about wages, and be very sure to comply with your state's laws about employment taxes. As an employer, the person receiving the care must pay unemployment taxes in most states. You will probably wind up doing the paperwork yourself, but it may not be too complex - in my state, once my Dad had registered for an employer ID number, I did the taxes quarterly on the state's website, and after the first time, when I put in the information on names, addresses, etc., the website had all the information saved and I only had to enter what he had paid the employee (me) and I paid the taxes by credit card online. It only took about five minutes.

The employer also has to generate W-2 forms for all employees, but that is also not too complex - if you get a tax-filing program like Turbotax in the small-business version, it will do it for you, or if you take his taxes to a service, just tell them he has a domestic employee (you).

If you are the employee, remember that if your relative does not do withholding on your wages, you will have a tax bill to pay on your income tax. If you do the withholding, there again you will probably have to do the paperwork yourself.

Part of the wages he pays you for home care (or skilled care, if you are a nurse, LPN, or CNA) will be deductible as medical expenses on his income taxes, if he does itemized deductions.

And it's perfectly legal for his insurance, veteran's benefits, Medicare, or Medicaid to pay you, even though you are a relative, if you are providing services that would be covered if you were not a relative. In other words, if his insurance or other program would cover home-care services provided by an agency or a non-related care provider, it's legal for them to pay you for that service.

Don't skip the paperwork on taxes - although it's unlikely, if your relative gets audited, you both could wind up paying fines if you have tried to have your arrangement "under the table".

Always keep track of your working hours on paper, with brief descriptions of duties, in case there's any question about it.

Which brings us to other family members who may object to you being paid, and might try to "guilt" you into working for free. They may be sincerely concerned about the relative's finances, or it's possible they may be more concerned about what will be left over for them in his will. Show them the log of what work you do, and tell them to look into what it would cost to have a home-care aide provide the same services.

If they still try to "guilt" you into working for free, telling you that you should be happy to care for a loved one for nothing, just tell them that THEY can come and do the work for free any time they want to.
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Good info Siera, I dont understand about the medical expenses being deducted off the parents taxes thou IF we are an LPN, what if not, because I have hired some and they are no better than what I do. My Mom doesnt make enough to pay taxes and from what I got paid thru her, I paid my own taxes.
Coreylynn , I had to pay 30% off what I made so keep that under consideration when chosing your wages. I also pay for all the electric ($100 a month for her extra warm bederoom heater at night, the oil, $650 every 7-8 weeks, her food, clothes, diapers, bedpads, etc... too. I hired an accountant and its much easier that way. Save all receipts and pay an accountant about $300 a year, its worth it. He told me its normally 8 hours per day at $15 an hour, can be more though. It doesnt matter if you work 2 hours a day or 12, you still get paid 8 hours a day. I myself took 10 hours pay a day on weekends because I did 12 and once she was in bed, its not like I could go out. Once you get paid, pay taxes and all of his heating bills, etc, you still wont make much. My Moms money is gone now and we just have her small SS so I quit my job and hire minimal help for her so I can have a break, it makes me a better person and caregiver. Best of luck.
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Yes - especially if you do it through a lawyer. It is actually a way to protect their and your assets from being taken for institutionalization etc. I didn't want to but our lawyer told me he would draw up a contract and for me to keep a detailed diary as per one of the other previous answers (and itemize your expenses for taxes etc.) Our lawyer did it in conjunction with my purchase of their house over into my name. I wrote them a check every month towards the purchase of the house, and they in turn write me a caregivers check, so all the transactions are legally documented in case of an estate / assets dispute. Think of it not so much in terms of business within the family as it is business to keep outsiders at bay from taking savings.
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My mother pays me and luckily and through good management it isn't a big hardship. Luckily my sister thinks paying me is a bargain--and I know it is. We could not find someone else to do all this for the same money, and of course I want my mother to be as comfortable as possible having all her intimate needs as private as possible. Our arrangement is that I'm paid a certain sum and then my mother gives me a yearly cash gift. That part of my "pay" is not taxable. I think this is all okay. My taxable income stays pretty small, but I'll have to pay a couple of hundred dollars at least. I'm glad to learn about different states requiring stuff like employer-paid unemployment. We'll have to ask the tax preparer about that. I'm conscious of two things: I do have to give up my chances for now of doing the work I used to do; but I also have employment in a time when it's hard to find. Thank you all so much, as usual, for the great information I always find on this site.
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Hey Bookworm, I definitely think we should keep in mind too what our mother and grandmother would want for us. Sometimes my mother finds me very annoying when I insist she get some exercise or take all her pills, but if she could express herself as my mother and express her hopes for me, I know she would not want me to be harmed by taking care of her. She is helping me get through a period when I'm not able to save myself for my own old age, which isn't that far away. You're a young person and your grandma would certainly not want to hurt your future chances under any scenario, I'm sure. You do deserve some help from her just as a member of the family, as you are giving her help, however you work that out. She would want you to have it, remember that.
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