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I am on a joint bank account with my Dad who will be applying for Medicaid in a couple of years. He has been in a NH for 5 years. Can I pay myself a small salary for handling his financial affairs or will that count as a tranfer for the look back period. One caseworker I talked to actually told me that I could spend the money on myself since its my account too as long as the item was for me personally and I had a receipt. Can this be correct? I'm in Texas.

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You really need to seek out an Attorney for Elders that specializes with this sort of activity. My Mom recently was admitted to short term rehab and will be going to assisted living or long term. I was joint with her on her accounts for the last two years, however the attorney created a Personal Services Contract between my Mom and myself so that I could legally move all her assets in to my name. Seek out legal advice from the professionals before you create a situation that is irreversible and use his money for all the legal fees..
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I'm sure I'll get a heap of backlash for this, but I think our parents kinda paid us for that already. You know, by bringing us into existence and spending their savings and income on us for the first 18 years of our lives...for the most part.
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If you are concerned about the "lookback" period you can forget the gifting idea.
If he needs to Qualify for Medicaid in the next 5 years, you will give it back.
I started gifting in 2009 and put it all in an account that I could't spend so if the five year lookback ever kicked in I could put it back.

As far as paying yourself for handing expenses......really?
If he was living with you that's one thing, but in a NH and all you do is review expenses and write some checks? shake it off.
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I am handling my Dad's finances also and He often tells me if I need something go ahead and use his money, but I am careful not to take advantage of this. My dad and I live in separate homes and like Matt383 said all I do is review expenses and pay some bills for him.....I feell I don't deserve a salary for that. And Dukeblue 2004 echos my thought when I read your post-- which was Our parents didn't seek a salary for taking care of me during the beginning and first 18yrs of my life. They perhaps struggled financially and made sacrifices to care for me, How can I turn around and seek a salary to take care of then at the latter part of their life. It's time for me to repay the service.
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My mom is living with me for over three years now. I don't take any money except for gas and her food. I would work part time if not for caring for her, but never thought of paying myself. I am worried about look back period as mom always gifted my brother and I money at xmas...no more per elder law attorney
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My mom lives with us now. She pays $150 a month for room and board ($250 in the winter to help with the increased cost of heat for her room), but that's it. I pay any bills she incurs out of her account - it's just what I do.
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Hmmm.. Duke & jfishe if your parents were still driving you to all your appts, cooking all meals, entertaining you, distributing daily meds, cleaning your room, showering, keeping their mouth shut so not to upset you, continually listening to you repeat things, explaining why friends and relatives don't come to visit, laying your clothes out, getting up in the middle of the night because you wet yourself and wiping your butt for 18 years then that's probably why you are still depended on them!!

It's time to cut the apron strings...

My parents chose to have me.. They also wanted me to grow up and support myself not them! How do I support myself when I am caring for my Mom 24/7..

You better be saving for your Elder years because you'll need the money for a nursing home..

I don't know if you have children but do you really expect them to give up their career and own family to financially support you?
I would never expect my children to financially support me it's humiliating and demoralizing...Have some respect...

Life's not about what you get when their dead.. It's about what you give while they're still alive...
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Interesting. Since it is a financial matter, I would ask an attorney. For many years I have wondered why at-home caregivers, many who had to give up a well paying job to care for a spouse, are not paid by an outside source. Professional help gets paid, organizational leaders get paid, millions of tax dollars are given annually with so many loopholes it is incredulous-- so why not at-home caregivers! I've heard where nieces, granddaughters are taking care of relatives and getting paid by various programs---but why cannot spouses receive the same benefits? Yes, there is bitterness. I had to quit a very good job 9 years ago to care for a spouse with Alzheimer's. I seem to ask more and more---are at-home caregivers being taken advantage of by the healthcare industry? Alzheimer patients basically sit around the house, take their prescribed medicine and vegetate while the caregivers work like dogs. Does the industry realize or even care what caregivers do!, Besides the daily worries, concerns and stress, we make certain medications are taken, nutritious meals prepared, cleaning done, washing clothes and sheets daily, paying bills, scheduling and keeping appointments, trips to the various doctor's offices, grocery shop, walking the dog--the list goes on. Caregivers basically give up their life to care for another. Friends no longer visit--communication is not enjoyable when a person doesn't know who they are, a dinner out is no more. Becomes embarrassing when the spouse throws food across the table. Daily arguments over the hidden TV remote found in the pajama drawer, dirty socks stuffed into shirt and pants pockets, hygiene at a standstill, flashlights strewn all over the house--at least 2 in every room in the event there is a power failure and when boredom really sets in, fun to scare the dog by shining a bright LDS light in his face. All this is met with denial---someone else did it! I'm so exhausted at night I barely make it to bed. And, I cannot help but keep asking--why are at-home caregivers not paid. Is this a life sentence?
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A&A I really like your "its not about what you get when they dies, its about what you give when they are alive"! I plan on using it in big meeting with lawyers this week.
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Lots of good replies showing how each feels about this. First I felt guilty for taking some money for taking care of my mom. Now, since she has dementia, I am the only signer on the family trust. We did meet with a qualified lawyer. He said I could spend the money any way I want. I don't want to abuse it, but we are taking care of mom 24/7 and providing for her every need. She is the center of the universe right now. My wife does almost all the work, especially the diarrhea clean up, which is about 2 episodes per week. We have to rent a different house because our "main" house is way too small for all of us. (1 bed) We can't do it for free. She doesn't want us to do it for free. She wants to live in a home and not a skilled nursing facility.
The trust provides for payments as I see fit. It also allows 5% of the estate per year. I could put her in a NH and she would NOT get the care she now gets. We don't drug her so she sleeps all the time. We do hear about old times and over and over but at least she is participating.
Don't go out and buy a new Caddy and say it is to take mom to the doctor once every 6 months. That's a bit extreme, don't you think. But do get paid for actual expenses and make them less than what a NH would cost. I don't feel guilty. I feel blessed. Blessed to have mom with us. No two situations are the same. "My situation is different" is always true.
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I really not sure bit my brother is my moms poa and he takes money from her all the time I have a caregi I have a caregiver that comes and helps me with her she lives but my brother will not
I make him take her to her doctors I take groceries and because she has nothin I called social services and they do nothin home so my feelings are he's taking her money and she's getting nothin he has a check he has a check bo he is convinced by not to give her any money when I take he is convinced bank if not give her any money when I take her and if she needs groceries





it is so frustratin so we do without sim my mom has her mad and her food and whatever she needs
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I too am a joint account holder with my father. I would never think of touching his money for my personal use. I'm going through something now with my youngest son. I found quite by accident that he has had dad sign for a mortgage on his house for a line of credit for my son's business. The only paper dad remembers signing is for my son's divorce, which was signed 3 months after the divorce. Upon questioning my son, I was told it's none of my business...........then I found the mortgage in my dad's name.........2 years later. Today I have an appointment with an elder attorney. As far as paying myself for helping my dad, not gonna happen. Like previous posters mentioned, he took care of me for many, many years. Now it's my turn to give back. Dad is 94 and starting to get forgetful.
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It is interesting the different viewpoints..I handle my mother's finances..so has not impacted my life or livelihood and would not consider being paid for it. But for those who have had to quit jobs and give up their own lives and financial security...I think they have a right to be reimbursed from their parents funds...If available...medicaid qualifications not being considered. However..I believe we should plan to provide for ourselves...and parents money should be spent for Their care...not hidden away legally for the heirs. Medicaid funding is a taxpayer provided program for the POOR...and and many elderly are or become poor...for those who aren't. .why expect the taxpayers to take care of them. I think in some states medicaid will pay an at home care giver.
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Lucy, what is your financial situation? Are you married? Do you have spouse to depend on for your needs? Do you have insurance coverage? Do you have siblings that share equally in the care responsibility? Do you have retirement savings to take care of you when you need them? Do you have a job other than caring for dad? Are you independently wealthy? Do you own your own home, separate from dad's? There are way too many factors to be considered. It has impacted my livelihood! So, I do not fit into your mold. I gave up a good paying career, have drained my IRA to try to keep my home, I have two siblings within 10 miles, that do NOTHING to assist with day to day care. They don't want to pay me because of impact on their inheritance, but it is ok with them that I provide exceptional care while losing everything I have every worked for.

Money is to provide for their care regardless of who provides it. Many caregivers have become poor while benefitting entitled siblings. Most parents in this situation would want to pay the child caregiver, that is why Medicaid allows it.
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theresa - in some states medicaid will pay for attendant care for a family member if the attendant is not also the representative. Since I am my mother's representative, I am not eligible to be paid to take care of her. The state and medicaid has blocked me every way I turn but this is not the thread for my problems. I do like your comment.

TexasD - Just how much time are you spending on you dad's finances per month that you feel a need to be paid?
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Dukeblue2004, and all the other judgies..... Not all of our parents were as good as yours apparently were. All parents are not good parents. You need to stop kidding yourself. Still, I'm fulfilling my obligation to take care of them now when all of my siblings have pretty much walked away. I, for one, don't feel like I should have to do this for free, and there are many more like me. I repeat, not all parents are good parents.
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All of you that keep suggesting that she consult with an attorney - attorneys are very expensive. My experiences have been that they do all they can to rip you off by charging for much more than they actually do.
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There are lots of programs out there, and the money and expertise of a elder care lawyer can really help. Don't go to a regular estate attorney make sure you see an elder care attorney. They know all of the ins and outs and while it will be a bit expensive you will save thousands in the end. There are programs which would allow you to be paid once Medicaid kicks in, but the prep of the
Also if someone in the family or you have a mental illness assets in some cases can be turned over without penalty. Again that is why the elder care attorney is helpful. It is saving my Dad and us a lot of money.
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After Mama's accident two and a half years ago, we had two choices, NH or one of us move in with her to take care of her 24/7. I lived in a townhome and so the layout of my home was not appropriate for her mobility issues at the time. I left my home, gave up my job, withdrew my retirement account when it became apparent the sibling was not going to contribute one dime to anything pertaining to her care...I will be paying off her medical bills for the rest of my life...again, nothing contributed from sibling. Therefore, I live with Mama, am her sole caregiver, have not been away from this home for more than a few hours at most in over two years, have no backup, and now am in the process of losing my home, which will not sell due to a depressed market where it is located and Mama got hit with a substantial penalty for not having Medicare Part B at the time of her accident...I don't buy clothes, have my hair done professionally..now being an 8 1/2 Champagne Blonde out of a box, no pedicures or manicures and no dining out for me...I don't get "paid" in the sense of a paycheck, but I live here with her and care for her, so I suppose that is my pay...later on down the road, IF there is a later for me, I will be starting all over in my late fifties.... advances in medicine are enabling our loved ones to live such long lives now, but way too many of us (me) never foresaw this situation...Mama was so healthy all her life, totally independent prior to the fall and everyone just assumed she would probably go working in her yards where she was happy.....who could have foretold she would sustain that head injury, which we were told accelerated her dementia, now early onset alzheimers and now she is totally bedfast....not where I pictured myself at this point of my life. I am not complaining, but it has been heartbreaking to me to see how little my brother cares about what I am doing...but I will have a clear conscious...I HAVE a clear conscious....not sure how folks like him ever do....
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Always check with an attorney - every situation, and sibling is different. My sibling has done nothing in 2.5 years and I have given up work and my personal life to care for a abusive mother. I my situation, I can not pay myself as a POA, I can gift myself money. However as the trustee I can pay myself a " reasonable" amount and I set it up with a CPA as the trust as a business. What works nicely is the amount I get paid is what she used to pay for taxes on the trust, so she isn't out any more money. Each situation is different and an attorney (a good one) is worth every penny.
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Alice - Each states medicaid program is different. You must live is a state that actually cares. We used to live in one of those states but had to move for health reasons where it was warmer. Don't think for one minute that I have not tried by all means possible including contacting state representatives and senators for assistance and legal services. There are people out there that don't have hundreds let alone thousands to pay for lawyers that is why they are on medicaid. Legal services would not help us that is how "helpful" our state is.
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A&A, I think it's really about perspective and how you veiw your life. If you feel that your parents gave you something so very intangible, i.e., your life, that you want to respect, honor and care for them in return for that gift, then caregiving becomes less of a task.

If your don't see life as a gift and see caregiving as an unwelcome obligation, than your perspective makes sense.

However, it seems that the tasks you mentioned are ones our parents did for us...cooking, cleaning, teaching, chauffeuring and more. Granted that it's more difficult to do those for an elder person with an acquired mind set than it is for a child who can be disciplined and told what to do.

I don't disagree that caregiving is a challenge, often an unwelcome one, and one that's made more difficult by a modern lifestyle that places less value on home life and bonds and sometimes more on being able to be technologically savvy and market that savvy effectively.

I also wouldn't deny that some parents either didn't have or weren't able to learn good parenting skills, or had some other issues that rendered them unable to be loving parents. And I certainly understand the resentment that would accompany anyone feeling forced into caregiving for those parents.

But as to the specific question, I don't see that simply taking care of a parents' finances is so time consuming that it warrants payment. Unless you're managing investments and contacting a stockbroker on a regular basis to play the market or gaming the commodities markets, financial management of a parent's funds just isn't that time consuming.

Peach44, I really have to challenge your assertion that attorneys just "rip you off by charging more...". You have to consider their training, acquired knowledge, and the need to continually keep up with changing statutes and case law.

Granted, there are unscrupulous attorneys, just there are unscrupulous doctors, engineers, contractors, politicians...you name the field and there's likely someone of questionable ethics. It's unfortunate that so many people single out lawyers for attack.

If you really believe they're rippffs, perhaps you should investigate what it takes to become one, and try doing the work you might otherwise have them do by yourself. Without assistance. Try researching a subject, Shepardizing it, and see how difficult it really is. Or try to draft a Will, or more challenging, a revocable trust.
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My parents are lucky (and so am I). They worked hard and saved diligently while still enjoying life. I'm sure they hoped to be able to leave some of that hard earned savings to me rather than paying it all to a nursing/personal care facility. So now that they need full time care why shouldn't they pay me to quit my job and care for them rather than spend way more to pay a stranger.
If your loved one has the finances to afford it don't feel guilty about taking an income. I'm sure they'd rather see you get the money than some agency.
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Texasdaughter asks a very valid question. She'd be wise to get the Elder lawyer someone recommended. I love my father dearly and am doing everything in my power to help him stay in his home till death. But he didn't save for old age and I and my husband are trying to do it. It's a fact that parents choose to have children, but children are simply born and did not choose to have parents. But as adults we may choose if and how we will care for our parents. Co-dependency is something I tangle with all the time. Do I give up my own identity totally to care for another? Or can balance, critical thinking and planning for my own and my family's future also be in the picture there? Seeking that balance is a constant practice for me and guilt, anger, and fear are always just under the surface.
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Taking care of either of our Mother's finances was a full time job. I paid my adult nephew, to handle Mother's accounts. I was on the accounts. Dealing with selling property, taxes, household contents, insurance, medicare, prescriptions, etc. It goes on and on.

I don't know anyone that can work all day and then, work on this stuff all night.

You are not asking for anything more than reimbursement for time spent. An attorney or accountant would not do this work for free. Pay yourself.
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Hospitals & nursing homes will eat up every last bit PhD savings an elder has very quickly prior to qualifying for Medicaid. Elders can gift their caretakers/children, etc. whatever they want, prior to establishing a Medicaid trust fund. There is usually a 5 yr look back before their money is fully protected. Many people would prefer to leave something to their
heirs than to give it all to a money making home or hospital. It's the principal of the situation.Hospitals today do not keep people as long as they used to & expect family members to pick up the 24 hr care, which forces them to give up jobs, personal lives indefinitely. This makes it very difficult on caregivers. I don't think the elders would want this scenario for their children, or turn their care into a "life sentence" for their spouse. Consult with elder care lawyer while your loved ones can still express their wishes, including a living will.
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I am not sure in other states but in Colorado you can not gift your children anything for the 5 year look back. You would do well to contact your local Human/Social Services to ask about the rules in your state for Medicaid Look Back. I believe if your name has been on the account for more than 5 years you should be o.k. If not and you want to "pay" yourself for services rendered - it cannot be more than 50.00/mth. As I said before you should contact Human Services and talk with the Adult Programs Technician or Supervisor to have your questions answered. Best of Luck!
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First, the practical – go see an elder law attorney. Call several. Some only do this sort of work in an expensive package of services, others you can pay by the hour strictly for advice.
Second – I so wish people would bite their tongues when they feel compelled to rant on the subject of "your parent(s) raised you and sacrificed for you all your life and how dare you...."
Considering that you haven't "walked a mile in the shoes" of the person you're scolding, it is really insensitive. You have no idea what kind of parenting they enjoyed (or survived) during their childhood and, as is pointed out EVERY TIME the comment arises, children aren't born with obligation to their parents. Their parents choose to have them.
Some adult children can't or choose not to be their parent's direct caregiver. The idea that they are "not as good" as adult children who do take up that role is offensive.
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All I know is that these things get messy really quickly. I have relatives who were inseparable and now haven't talked for years because of money handling issues while their parents were living their last years. I'm observing a similar situation now. In my own family there was almost no resource but as the primary caregiver for my dad, I kept records, only spent on his specific expenses, and actually paid out of pocket for my own and his associated costs when eating out and things like that. If there are substantial resources, I suggest an attorney and good record keeping. A written agreement signed by all relative family members on who is doing what and how the reporting will be done (monthly, annual, etc) - is also a good idea.
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How involved are your father's finances? Does he have stocks, rental property or a business that you need to take care of? I took care of that and still do for my mother and all of this takes time and lots of it. I say if he can afford it, why not? Make sure it won't bite you later with Medicaid.
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