My father came to live with me so I could care for him. His second wife sued us and I need to account for all reciepts related to his care. How do I account for the expenses?

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I while back I had some trouble with my dad's second wife. When he first came to live with me, she did not agree. Long story short, after the first year, his wife sued us, and I mean my dad also!!

So in the legal discovery they asked to see all the receipts for his care, etc., thinking I was somehow making a "profit" from his $600 in social security each month. The suit is over, but for my own piece of mind -- I should probably do some accounting. (Let me tell yah, the only people that "got" anything from the suit were the lawyers)

But how do I split up the grocery receipt? In fact, we shop at the local farmer's market -- and most often than not there is no receipt? Plus I pay rent, do I just allocate a percentage? My dad has the master bedroom and bath.

When I read a comment in another post about how the county conservator "estimated percentages" I thought maybe that's the way to set things up. How was that set up? Is there some industry standard for percentages they establish?

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You could do some reseach yourself on average costs in your area. This is one more expense, but having an attorney draw up a contract is probably the best way to ensure that you have no further problems of the kind you just went through. If you go in to see an attorney with some community averages for rent (in a place similar to yours), food for two adults, etc. that may help. You are smart to start keeping records and your story is an important on to share with others. Thanks so much for writing and please keep coming back.

Some of you out there will have input for this I'm sure.
Carol
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Robert, I totally agree with Carol. Save yourself from lawsuit hell. Get some professional help to set up a system. If 2nd wife sued you once who knows if she and a lawyer will surface again. Protect yourself. How anyone could profit from $600 a month is beyond me but you've just seen what that amount "cost" you and dad.
Sounds to me like second wife had a vendetta over something other than the SS money and people with vendettas are dangerous.
Isn't it pitiful that while trying to care for your father, you got blasted? Just goes to show you that no matter how good your intentions are, you can still get in trouble. I cared for my mom with good intentions and got blasted by her lawyer. Now I wonder when she'll blast me again.
Good luck to you and your dad.
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When people are angry at you they donot care that the lawyers are the only ones profitting.Unless you have a signed a legal document from the other side stateing there will be no more attacks more or likely there will be.If you have a dime in your pocket they can sue for,they will.It would be better to get armmed up now than later.Lawyers are not just people who give legal advice,they are human weapons.Weapons that are perfectly legal.You already know you are in a battle,don't leave a weak spot for the enemy to strike you again,be prepared.Lawyers are verbal hitmen,they are not meant to be liked.
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I totally understand where you both are coming from. I took care of mom as her daughter AND mom let me care for her as her daughter. Neither of us realized how much trouble we could have gotten in by not following the crazy "rules". The only way she ever discovered any of this was from her weaseling paid caregiver turned friend. The only reason mom would accuse me of any wrongdoing was because this poor excuse for a human told her to "get" me. Fortunately for me, they didn't do their homework, I proved it and mom dropped it. The caregiver/friend is satisfied for the time being to have replaced me as mom's POA and has been written into the will. "Daisy" is happy for now but I don't trust her obviously. Will not be surprised if mom's friendly lawyer writes me another threatening letter probably after Daisy has spent all of the money and wants more.
Adult children who become caregivers need to enter this venture knowing all consequences.Far too many let their heart or guilt rule and dive right in . . . just like the 3 of us did.
Those who think their elderly parent or sibling won't turn on them or cause legal problems need to wake up. It's ugly.
This has taught me and my family to be prepared for the worst, be careful what you sign and be careful who you trust.
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I'd like to get some info from a government agency or typical state conservator, but don't know where to find that info.

Last people I'd go to are lawyers. One lawyer helped with my dad's paperwork and another with his Will. Guess what, when the suit came around -- they both clammed up and wanted to be paid for any help.

Maybe I can find a financial advisor that specializes in setting up this kind of accounting -- any recommendations?
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Well said Tennessee. I would have expected, however, that our legal system kept costs and commonsense in play for the normal Joe. This I have learned is obviously not the case. I expect something to re-occur when my dad passes away - be it a year or ten years from now. So I'd like to prepare, plus anyway - it's always good to have one's own financial records tidy and clear.

I guess maybe it would help if someone, maybe who is an official conservator or has activated their parent's financial power of attorney duties, and what they set up. Simple things, like do I start an Excel spreadsheet, utilize some section of Quicken, look up the guidelines in IRS publication 123, etc. Where do I start?

Right now all my dad's costs "blend" in with mine. I don't separate out "his" groceries or the cost of "his" room in my house, or the help of my live-in assistant/maid/nanny with "his" specific care.

I mean in the "old" world it's all family and who needs to "separate" it out, but I have been introduced already to the U.S. legal system and our messed up tort system. I will need to build up substantial and extremely conclusive documentation for any future eventuality. By the way, I'm not doing it for some pot at the end of the rainbow, I just want enough to quickly and cheaply defend myself in any future frivolous claim from his 2nd wife.
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I didn't realize at the time that family had to keep everything seperated like a business,so I did none of these things.I was not a bookkeeper, I was a daughter,a best friend,a caregiver,a personnal assistant,a dog groomer,a gopher,a taxi service,a food fixer,a sounding board, a nurse,a bather,24 hour emergency service,a house cleaner,a manicurist,massage thearipist,hair cutter,etc. etc.everything but a legal expert and book keeper.It never crossed my mind that we were required to have seperate food bills-he was my dad,I was family-legal system don't have any regard for family.I have no experience in doing anything 'right',just how to do everything 'wrong'.The legal world can be very tricky.
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IHi--I just read your Q & A, and not sure what she is or was sueing for? To protect yourself, I would try to keep a record or percentage from your daily expenses for your Dad. I would also contact your local agency on aging for further suggestions. If you need legal advice, is there legal aid or AARP in your area, so you do not have the expense of an attorney?

Good luck!

Hap :-)
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robert888, what a nightmare you've had to live through! No good deed goes unpunished. I question whether anyone who would put a caregiver through such an awful proceeding really cares about anyone else. The almighty dollar is what motivates some folks. I am sorry you are going through the situation you have described. I agree with those who have recommended a good lawyer. Who, other than a lawyer would be able to sort through such a convoluted bureacracy?
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You might just as well do it with the help of an elder lawyer there are so many around now I asked my accountant to recommand someone and got the greatest one since you know what she is likely to do you might as well as be prepared.
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