As Mom's conservator may I charge her for daily living costs? - AgingCare.com

As Mom's conservator may I charge her for daily living costs?

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I have been my mother's guardian and the conservator of her estate for about three years now. She lives in my home with me. There are no other people living here. Originally the fiscal conservator was a state assigned company from her home state but eventually it was decided that all of her assets should come here and I began to file her bi annual financial statement.

For two years I have sent the company above an invoice of my mother's expenses. They reimbursed me every month. In addition I charged a very very small amount for rent and about half the utilities and groceries. I thought that was fair since she spends a lot more time in my home than I do and most of the meals are for her.

No the probate attorney who is helping me file the bi annual report has a bookkeeper who tells me I am not allowed to charge any living expenses from my mother. Firstly I think she's wrong and secondly I'm a little freaked out that I might have been doing something wrong for the past two years? Why did the conservator reimburse me if what I was doing was wrong? SEVERAL people have told me I should charge mom for these things, including her!

Is the bookkeeper misinformed? Should I find someone else?

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Talk to the attorney. The rent should be OK if you are splitting the cost of an apartment. If you own your own home, then the rent would hit a snag. Every state offers conservator training. Be sure you get some.
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If it makes you feel any better - my son was paying shared expenses ( our accountant said to call it that opposed to "rent" so we don't have to claim it as income) for a year before I off-handed said something to my attorney about it - at which time I was advised I was committing a no-no. So the attorney wrote it all up, submitted it to a judge who approved it - and the rest is history. No time in the slammer for me.
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It sounds to me like the bookkeeper has got her wires crossed: you can't *benefit* from your role as conservator, but you're not benefiting, you're reclaiming proven expenses. Relax until you can get this clarified with the attorney. But it seems entirely reasonable for your mother to reimburse you for her living expenses, incurred solely for her benefit. If she weren't living with you, she'd be living somewhere - and living ain't free.
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The conservator paperwork says nothing about what I can or can not do. I am rep payee for a trust account for my nephew and I'm not allowed to touch any of that money except with a court order. I'm just wondering why it would be okay for two years and then suddenly not. I don't fully understand what the attorney has advised. He knew that my mom's in home companion was being paid for monthly and did 'nt say anything. I'll have to talk to him. Its so fricking expensive every time I consult him and I'm worrying over this on a weekend.
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Generally it is outlined the document what can and can't be paid for when a trust is involved. So that has me wondering that something should be in writing somewhere in your situation - the conservator paperwork? I do know in my situation - I am guardian for my special needs adult son - that I had to get court approval in order to charge my son "shared expenses". But this is all conjecture - can't the attorney advise you?
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Do not freak out. It's not like you're billing her estate for champagne and caviar. Breathe. Feel better? Okay. A bookkeeper is not a CPA or accountant. I would take what s/he says with a grain of salt. Although I am not in your situation, my neighbor is and I know for a fact that she charged expenses to her aunt's estate for whom she was guardian and conservator. I hope someone much more knowledgeable will answer your question.
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I should add that the savings account is attached to a checking account which I use to pay her bills every month
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she is not a cpa. My mother's money is in a mutual fund and savings account with myself as conservator... it does not say 'trust' on any of the documents. It does say my name for benefit of her name
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Is the bookkeeper an actual accountant? Is your mothers money in a trust?
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