What are the legal responsibilities of caregivers? - AgingCare.com

What are the legal responsibilities of caregivers?

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My brother and I have been co-care givers for over 10 years of my elderly parents now in their 90's My Mom just passed away. My brother is 65 and probably has Asperger syndrome but my parents never had him diagnosed. He makes very little money and we own the house together. What are my responsibilities if he doesn't pay his share of the bills one my Father passes.

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Katie, to suggest what your legal responsibilities might be, readers first need to know what the background is.

This is my guess, please correct what I've got wrong:

Your parents and your brother lived in the family home.
Your brother has never lived independently away from them, although he has been able to hold down a job.
You moved back to the family home ten years ago to share responsibilities for looking after your aging parents with your brother.
Your mother has now passed away; may I offer my condolences on your loss?
Your father is in his nineties, and you are very sensibly looking ahead to see what provision needs to be made for the future.

You and your brother are joint owners of the house: how did that come about? Did one or both of you buy the property, or did your parents purchase it for you, or did your mother leave it to you both in her will, perhaps?

Are you concerned that your brother will not be able to meet his half of the financial commitments, or that he will just refuse to or not understand that he has to?

What support and care does your brother need to function?

What plans are you making for your own future?

The legal responsibilities as far as paying property taxes, paying utilities bills, paying for the upkeep of the property goes should be spelt out in whatever documents were drawn up when you and your brother became the owners of the house. You and he will own the house as "joint tenants" or "tenants in common" or whatever legal phraseology applies, and the terms of ownership should have been set down.

But there are the legalities, and then there are the practicalities. The practicalities are more important. How would you *like* life to move on for both yourself and your brother once, God forbid, your father has passed away?

Note: don't make any foolish promises to anyone, will you? I expect you love your brother. That does not mean that you literally have to be his keeper forever.
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Do you live in it together? It is messy to co-own property with someone you can't depend on. You have no legal responsibility for him, so you would just have to get the money from him in the ways someone would get them from a roommate. If it is going to be a problem I would talk about selling the house and going separate ways. Many people with Asperger's do fine on their own, depending on the severity of the disorder. From what you wrote, your brother is high functioning and never diagnosed. Obligations are moral ones only, so only you will know what they might be.
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Yes my brother and I own the house together. My concern is if stops paying the bills what are my legal rights
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Katie, you'll have to provide more information. Do you and your brother live in the house together? Do you plan to sell it? Why are you concerned if your brother pays his share of the bills and what bills are these?
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