Follow
Share

I can not get sibs (3) to agree to meager compensation I first asked about over a yr and a half ago (then $200/wk for live-in caregiving except for an outside 40-hr/wk job). I left a job in another state on a FMLA 5 yrs ago to help my mother. After numerous failed attempts at reasoning with them (and countless hurt feelings), a cost benefit anaylsis of the savings my presence/sacrifice has been to Mom, I can not get them to agree to meet with a mediator because they've continually dismissed my requests to greed. Very recently they agreed to paying me under the table (to avoid taxes) but no retroactivity. I explained that that would be fraud. They have since pulled that off the table.

And most recently they agreed to try, for the first time in over a yr and a half, to chip in and help out with Mom in 4 hr shifts M-F, 5 - 9 pm so I can have some time off after my 9-5 outside job, and some coverage on Sundays. Saturday coverage is still mine bc no one wants to give up their Saturdays. It's about 40+ hrs that they've agreed to help cover. This attempt started on December 15th. I am covering almost half of those 40+ hrs as well as overnight coverage. It's been tense and awkward, but they are trying, right?!

My question is, since I have gotten NO WHERE in trying to reason with them, it was mentioned earlier, elsewhere on this website that one could sue the estate upon her passing. Is that even possible? Is it possible without a caregiver agreement in place (they've refused that idea completely for various nonsensical reasons)? This would be my LAST resort, but might alleviate some of my stress and help me maintain focus while she's still with us.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Here's an idea: find out what you need to do to be hired by the overnight caregiver service. Look at how much you would make just working weekend, plus your 40 hour a week job. Would that make it possible for you to get an apt and a roommate?
You are trying to set boundaries, but the bros see themselves in the driver's seat. As long as you are a permanent resident of that home and have no where else to go, then they are right, you are powerless. If you are serious about wanting this to be fair, move out. Get paid for what you are doing, but by someone else's family who will appreciate you.
If you do file suit, they will fire you and throw you out of the house. You will claim that is your permanent residence so you can't be thrown out, and that will invalidate your entire case. You are in a corner. I'd walk away so I can come visit mama sometime and enjoy life again!
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What did they offer you as compensation?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

and it was ONLY since the spill/surgery in spring of 2012 and 24/7 recommendation that I ever asked to be compensated. I had been with her 3 yrs prior, but she's definitely declined since then.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi reverse -- yeah she IS 24/7! I can dart out to grocery store and back in less than 45 min (tops!), but AM ALWAYS worried. and it was upon her last spill/surgery/rehab, that I tried to initiate a personal care contract ... and have tried to get it implemented every way I can, but bros refuse it, refuse to meet w mediator.
and to your point (good point I hadn't thought about!) -- there might not be much left in her estate either. hmm ... is that why bros are being so unreasonable?
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

Siblings that do not assist with caregiving for parent many times cause this sort of mess, especially when one of them holds the POA. They are afraid of what they will lose if caregiver is paid. The will I'm sure states share and share alike of the assets. But the siblings never stop to think that that statement has more than one connotation, what about equally sharing in the care?! Or if they want to leave the estate intact, tell them they can each pay you out of their own pockets.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Another thing to consider, which happened to me, is that there will be no estate once she passes.My Moms money ran out years ago but she is still living with us. It cost a lot the more their disease continues, I spend thousands on my Moms supplies, respite, and food, etc, never mind the high heating bills.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Wiped out, I hope you have daily diaries of what you do because you will need it in court. I still think you should be getting paid now, later will cost you lawyer fees and not worth it IMO. Is your Mom alone at all? If she is, I wouldnt think she would be considered to have 24/7 caregiving needs. I took care of my Mom for 9 years by calling and going over back and forth but she still lived alone. Once she fell, I moved her in with me and she couldnt be alone at all ,thats when I made out a PCContract.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

bless you all for your words of encouragement and support! thank you so very, very much!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

to debralee -- thank you for that head's up, will keep it in mind shd it progress (?)
to Jeanne -- yes I know the bros have it in reverse! I have been trying to get it thru their thick heads since May 2012. amazing that the older bro keeps throwing the fact that he was a financial adv for 22 yrs?! I think it's stubbornness and ego at this point. but their ignorance has been to MY detriment, not theirs.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Your brothers have it in reverse. It is perfectly acceptable for mother to pay for services to help her stay at home. Medicaid does not expect her to get by without paying her way. It would NOT be acceptable for mother to give you money to pay your own medical bills. Payment for services = OK. Gifts to others = penalties.

Just so you know ...
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Be careful about litigating your mother's estate for caregiver services. A lot of wills have a clause written into them about an heir being disinherited if a lawsuit results in the probation of the will.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Great, WipedOut, I'm glad it was of help!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Happy New year to one and all.
To glad -- I got another response from the avvo website that I will definitely look into! It sounded more encouraging that the first responder and I know it varies from state to state and hopefully I stated it concisely enough in the character-restricted space! But the response incl this:
statutory provision in the Probate code to address the circumstances you describe but it does not become available until after the family member passes and applies only to assets that are a part of the decedent's estate. I have added the probate practice tag to your question so the appropriate local attorneys may offer their input through this forum.
It was very nice of responder to tag it more appropriately! Will keep you posted.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Yes, what you say is clear, but the answer is I just don't know.

But I'm afraid what the lawyer told you is true ... you have no grounds for suing because you have no agreement. In fact, you have lots of evidence that they did NOT agree to pay you.

What I think you should do (just a personal opinion, based on my own views and philosophy) is to move out. I know you say you can't afford to, but consider all options. Find someone who is looking for a roommate. Consider a boarding house or the Y. Consider a second part-time job. Write to your brothers that as of such-and-such a date you will be visiting your mother twice a week as a loving daughter, but not as a caregiver. They will need to arrange for her care. Maybe that will open their eyes. Or maybe not, so you must be prepared to act on your threat.

What is going on here is not unheard of, and it always makes my blood boil. One family member does all the work so that the others won't have their inheritance reduced. Balloney to that scene! But you made the mistake of starting doing the work before clarifying the financial expectations. They have very little incentive to do the right thing. They have you over a barrel.

There is probably an agency in the nearest city that can counsel you about housing, and give you suggestions about things to try. Call the United Way offices and they will be able to direct you to no-cost or low-cost help.

As long as you are dependent on living in your mother's house, your brothers don't really have any reason (except decency) to be fair to you.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

hi reverseroles ... no, my mom hasn't cooked for 5 yrs, she isn't all that steady even w walker, doesn't bathe herself, O2, etc. After her fall/surgery/rehab 24/7 limited assist recommended. Signs of dementia. But I suppose she is doing OK for 94 yo. I moved back from another state on an FMLA over 5 yrs ago to her house.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Wipedout, its already ugly, you are doing it all and if your Mom should die, all reep the benefits of her estate, if there is any. Moms living with you? Can she be alone? Is there 3 or more daily living things she cannot do alone? Cook, eat, dress, walk, toilet, dementia? I went to a lawyer about this but I am her poa. He told me to take $1,000 a week for compensation and use daycare on top of that.(It does count towards a medicaid countdown) He drew up a pcc and I was paid until her money was gone. I in turn used that money for years now right back to her because she is still living six years later. We have no money left except the va and ss which I use for supplies and help and I have gotten no money in over 3 years, which is fine with me. She is $25 over the monthly minit to receive and medicaid help due to her getting the va funding now. I just wanted to make sure the money went to moms care not to the lazy arse too busy siblings that never helped. Oh they say they will, but always had an excuse and never did. You really need to either refuse to care for your mother or sit down with a lawyer and have him tell you his thoughts. The first lawyer visit in always free around here. Dont forget, things decline. My Mom went from dancing to not being able to walk or talk and became incontinent, its not going to get any easier. Its $25 an hour to hire from an agency! Good Luck and put your foot down!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

ha ... countrymouse, already did get quotes from local ppl and plugged in zip code on a website ... website said $650 was 'way too high' for rent in this zip. AND this is a boarding situation!
"Their better idea"? Yet to be verbalized and if it's like everything else, it will change.
Wow, the more I vent the more pathetic I sound. But I AM trying to do this bc I do love my mother contrary to sibs' accusations.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

For room and board prices, get quotations from local papers/local property management companies. $850 - hope it's pretty luxurious!

Your friend is right, it will get ugly. Avoid if possible - because once it's got ugly, what happens to your mother? Your brothers are being idiots; but in the end you all want the same thing - good care for your mother. So, what's their "better idea" of how to provide that?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

omg ... a friend mentioned to me to let them know I will be covering only the overnight hrs to 'earn' my room and board (and actually their arbitrary, over-inflated value is $850 which would be earned in one week of overnights, 9pm to 8:30am) and if/when they'd hire the agency for the add'l hrs at $16-17/hr report the bros/co-POAs to Agency IV on Aging for financial irresponsibilty. But my friend did say, once that ball is in motion there's no turning back and it will get very, very ugly.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

It sounds to me like your brothers are taking the piss. I'm afraid there seems to be a lot of it about. It's probably cluelessness rather than malice - I particularly love the way THEY accuse YOU of emotional blackmail! - but since they're not looking at the numbers and are clinging to this la-la land notion that daughters look after their mothers for love and can live on fresh air… one way or another, you're going to have to call their bluff.

I'd guess you'll have trouble enforcing any kind of retrospective contract. But, yes, they owe you. Do them a spreadsheet, leave it with them, then forget about it: any return on it can then be a nice surprise. Meanwhile look forward: start planning and acting on your life as you mean it to go on. PS is dead right - five years of this horse poo is more than enough.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

thank you pstiegman.

Just thought I'd throw something else out there that makes no sense. Originally when I asked to be minimally compensated in May 2012 after fall/surgery/rehab that basically tethered me to the house (at least prior to that I was able to get away every so often for an afternoon). The 2 bros/co-POAs claimed compensating a family member would not be allowed the 5-yr look back. BUT they did offer (and offering now!) that they'd - out of Mom's funds, of course - pay a rather hefty medical bill that has been looming over me for about 3 yrs in lieu of compensation. I asked them then (and now) how that would not be considered gifting in the 5-yr look back (esp given their original rejection was baed on the look back)? I asked then (and now), why they are so against paying me m.e.a.g.e.r.l.y for svcs rendered so I can pay my OWN bills. It is not like I haven't earned the meager amt many, many times over.
I have a strong suspicion it's so they can lord it over me. They've already said they can't believe I wouldn't snap that up and be grateful for such a generous offer.
Sorry, the dam has burst ... and I am just venting and venting and venting! Somebody stop me -- lol?! Please send me good thoughts for 2014!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

You sound so wiped out, you really need to get out of there. Yes there is monetary value to your services, and there is monetary value to having a roof over your head, as you know. I think preserving your own sanity is of primary importance. Five years is enough.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

To jeanne -- I know I'm grasping at straws here, but I just remembered. At the end of August, the sibs scheduled meeting and 'presented' a (ridiculous) version of a care agreement. I did not commit to anything on the spot and requested further written clarification (everything was so ambiguous). I do have a copy that they suggested they'd be willing to set up that references a deferred lump sum payment that would accrue until she passes. It is not signed -- only a fool would sign it as it was presented. But it is some kind of documentation that they acknowledged there is a monetary value beyond room and board. Would that be enough?

Hope this is clear. Ha ... am just 'wiped out'!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Well, thank you again jeanne! No I would say while she is fairly coherent, she has enough memory and processing incidents that would indicate she is not that competent. PLUS I think I'd have to go thru the bros (y/n?!) and that's just not gonna happen given their attitude thus far.
and to glad -- wow I did contact avvo and already got a response (not one that I necessarily wanted to hear!). w/o a contract in place he said my chances of winning something are slim to none (and I didn't see how to ask a follow up qtn to his reply). BUT I have struggled to get them to consider a written agreement and they accuse me of being over the top!!!!
When I put my foot down in Oct and said I was limiting my svcs to overnight hrs, they responded/accused me of putting a gun to their heads ... a bit of melodrama, imho. I've been doing this for 20 mos and counting without any scheduled time off!

I have asked them what would happen if I weren't here. They said they'd hire outside help ... even though I provided them a cost/benefit comparison in a spreadsheet in July and that just isn't financially responsible. I've also asked them numerous why/how they are willing to pay an outside agency (who is not much more than glorified babysitters that I end up overseeing anyway) $16-17/hr for 40 hrs/wk, but not me at over 120 hrs/wk. I have yet to receive an answer.

Also Happy NY to all. I sure hope this next year is better!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Is mother competent to change her will? That could be a solution.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I didn't mean you were cooking something up after the fact. But all your documentation will show is that you asked for pay and were told no. It isn't like they are breaking their word to you. They did what they said they would do. I don't see any breach of contract here.

In any case, I'd see a lawyer now, not wait. Perhaps there are other ways of getting compensation.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Thanks --
To jeanne -- well, yes I have continued to do so without pay -- to keep the peace. I do have documentation of all of my requests/responses back to May 2012 ... not just 'cookin' this up after the fact. I just am at my wit's end.
To sonswife -- can I afford to live off the 9-5 job - NOPE. Jobs in this small town aren't plentiful. Giving written notice, finding another place to live is waaay easier said than done.
To glad -- I will pursue the website you mentioned.

Any other thoughts?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Instead of giving up asking for compensation, have you considered stopping being your mother's caregiver? It sounds like your efforts to care for your mother are completely unappreciated by your siblings. Can you afford to live off what you make at your 9-5 job? Give them written notice, find another place to live, stop giving up your life.
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

See a lawyer for specific advice.

I kind of doubt you'd be successful. You've continued to do this without getting paid, without having a contract or agreement, without any amounts being established. Since you could have declined to continue in this unpaid role at any time I don't see what grounds you would have to insist on money later. If your brothers had promised to pay you and had failed to so, yes, that seems like grounds. But it sounds like they have told you all along you should do this "for love" and that your compensation is room and board. They are living up to their end of the deal. What would you sue them for? Being insensitive jerks?

But I am definitely not a lawyer and my opinion means nothing in court! I urge you to see a lawyer, now, not wait until your mother dies.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Some background. Two older bros are co-POAs -- mother is of the generation where boys take care of finances. Sis finds the entire subj of compensation distasteful ... I should be doing this out of love! I have been primary live-in caregiver for over 5 yrs. It was in May 2012 that I first asked for compensation after Mom had taken a spill, that led to hip surgery and rehab and recommendation she have 24/7 limited assisted care. Bros employed a companion agency (with her funds) to be with her while I am at a job that pays a little over a half what they pay the agency.

In May 2012 when I first asked for compensation, 2 bros told me paying a family member would not be allowable in a medicaid 5 yr look back? Oldest brother is a recently retired financial advisor?! I responded with info to the contrary that basically went ignored for over a year. In May 2013, we had to change agencies due to several gross negligence issues. I took that event to re-visit my request. So finally ... the dialogue was opened, or so I thought. It has been a back and forth ever since. They have changed their stance at every turn. At one point, I was told to come up with a personal care agreement. I did so with atty fees, out-of-pocket only to have them come and say, there will be no signed agreement. I have been told that I am being more than compensated in room and board ... ha, that's whole different story.

I just can't get anywhere. So rather than continue what seems to be a losing battle and is causing me almost unbearable stress and strife and unbelievable amts of tension from sibs on top of the stressfulness of caring for an elderly mother in decline, can I give it up and tackle this after she passes?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter