May I be lawfully reimbursed from parents estate for travel expenses involving their care?

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My dad has been in an Alzheimers unit for a year now. Mother was driving back and forth to see him twice a day, still working part time, taking care of her duties at home and paying bills, etc. Then she tripped on a mat at the nursing care center and broke her hip. She is now in the same facility for PT. However, at 87 the surgery hit her very hard and her mental abilities have waned to the point she will likely not get home. They are in OH and I am an only child in TX. I have been going back and forth multiple times to take care of things at their home as well as managing their financial affairs. I am POA. Is it lawful to let their estate pay for some of my travel expenses? If I am very careful the cost is about $2000 a trip plus the time I have to take off of work.

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As a long term care insurance agent for the past 20 years, my understanding of the Medicaid rules are that your parents may not distribute anything of value to you without getting fair value in return. From your description of the circumstances I believe it could be rigorously argued that they are receiving value from your visits to help them. I would keep detailed records of any disbursements you make to yourself and I would also seek the advice of an elder care attorney. Free advice is sometimes only worth what you have paid for it.
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Rosie, typically wills state that expenses of the last illness of the deceased are priority disbursements. If you paid for the funeral expenses, you should be entitled to reimbursement from your mother's estate, assuming the funds exist to do so. But theoretically, if she had funds to pay for these expenses, they should have been used instead of your own money.
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how about funeral expenses? my mom had some insurance, but not enough. I pd for funeral home expenses, plus gravesite expenses. i'm poa and the only child.
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This is very helpful. I didn't want to do anything that was out of line. Have been keeping gas and hotel receipts so far but will do a better job of gathering in the future now that I know this. Thank you for the advice.
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I agree with J Gibbs about consulting a lawyer. I'm 600 miles from my folks and I drive to see them every few weeks. I'm POA and pay their bills. I keep track of all my road expenses as well as the shopping I do for them while I'm there and pay myself back from their checking account. I keep all receipts and detailed records in case there would ever be any questions.
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In order to qualify for Medicaid at some point in the future, your parents will have to spend down their assets on their own needs and care. It seems to me that having you visit is one of their needs. I don't see why they can't pay you each time you visit. Would they be willing to do that?

It will be very important to establish that this is payment for services, not a gift.

I really think it will be worthwhile to consult a specialist in Elder Law in Ohio. Such a lawyer can guide you in how to set up a care agreement that pays you now, as the expenses occur, and can give other advice in preparing for applying for Medicaid in the future.
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Thank you for answering, freqflyer. Yes I do foresee they will need to apply for Medicaid if this goes on for any length of time. Since they have both gone into nursing care their funds won't last too long.
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If you inherit your parent's estate you would be essentially paid. Or do you foresee in the future that your parents would need to apply for Medicaid and there estate going to Medicaid?
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