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I am main caregiver even though mom is in a care facility. She has mild-moderate dementia and does not drive. I live 20 miles from her and use her vehicle (with her permission) for her care. I have also used it for personal use (with her permission) especially since I live in country and get several things done while in town to see her and take her out for appts., store, church, just to get out! She knows it is her vehicle and appreciates me driving. My siblings live 90 miles away. Sister sees her once a month for couple hours and brother hardly ever but calls her. Sister also pays bills. They want me to sell it so they can put the money towards her care (which would be around $7500) and I use my own vehicle. Or I buy it. We have done all the maintenance and gas out of our own pocket. Only insurance comes out of moms account paid by my sister who manages her money. I am so conflicted because it helps me as well as my mom so much!!! I cannot seem to reiterate to them how much it means to mom when I spend time with her and take her for her needs and wants--just trying to help mom maintain as much independence as she can now and having the use of her own vehicle is one way. I feel guilty more times than not even when I drive in to help her and run to the store for my own needs even though I pay for all the gas and oil changes. I just need someone to help me put all in perspective. Thanks so much!!!

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The ability of your mom to get into and out of **any** vehicle is the most important factor. Be sure to have someone videotape her getting into /out of her own vehicle and then in/out of your vehicle. Keep a copy of that and send a copy to sister. Also have mom's doctor write a note about which vehicle best meets mom's needs. And, keep in mind, mom may reach a point to where she cannot get in/out of vehicles at all-- BUT that doesn't mean there are no transportation needs, or costs.....if mom is housebound or in a facility, either way, there's lots of people running around getting her things...it's called Delivery Charge. If there is no Courier Service out in the country where you live, then YOU are it. Don't spend your own money /vehicle life on mom.....get sister to see the light, and get reimbursed NOW.
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Yes, I do have the car at my house. It is a Honda odyssey and much easier getting into and out of than my little vw jetta. Thanks very much to all who responded. There is much food-for-thought!
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Did I miss where you said where the car is stored? If it's at your house and then you drive into town and run errands and drive Mom around, that's one thing. It's another if it sits at the Care Facility (subject to vandalism, theft, weather) and you drive into town in your car and then transfer over to hers. I would say that a car will last longer if it's being driven regularly. Also, does Mom have trouble getting into and out of your personal vehicle? Is it easier to carry her around in her own? Who is listed as primary driver on her auto insurance policy? Is it you? I think your mother derives a sense of well-being by you using her car for the errands and to run her around. It makes her feel like she isn't "putting you out". That she is contributing is some small way.

I vote to keep the car at least until she no long recognizes that it is her car and no longer cares about it.

I think you should take the answers to those questions into account as well as the others that have been raised. Make up a sheet of paper, divided down the middle and write pros and cons at the top. Write down everything, no matter how seemingly insignificant, into the columns and that will help organize your thoughts about the matter.
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Medicaid does not count the home or one car when someone applies. If they are sold during the time someone receives Medicaid, the money has to be applied to her care. Of course, Medicaid can seek recovery after a person's death.

If a car is not being used, it is good to sell it and spend the money down. That saves the money that is being paid for maintenance, insurance, and registration. When it is being used, the circumstances determine if it is a good idea to sell or not.
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I wish this was for her future concerning Medicaid then it would make sense! Thinking we may have to just purchase the car which is worth $7500 and expense out mileage, etc.. I cannot thank everyone enough for all the perspectives!!! Open to as many as I can get so I can sift through my emotions to make the best decisions
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If mom is in a nursing home, your sis may be planning ahead for Medicaid. Medicaid is not going to pay for mom's care if she still owns a car. She will be required to sell it and use the proceeds (fair market value) to pay her nursing home bill. When all her money runs out, Medicaid may begin paying her bill.

If that's what sis is doing, I don't see that you have a choice.
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If you already have your own serviceable car, then the best thing to do is to sell your mother's car. From the proceeds, you should be able to recoup any payments (you have receipts?) that you have already made for its maintenance while it was still technically your mother's car. What's left won't be much, but it's cash realised from the sale of your mother's asset which will then go into her account. Thus you are all squared away.

Next. You would then be using *your* car for *your mother's* benefit. Any expenses you incur solely and exclusively on your mother's account - fuel for running errands or taking her to appointments, parking payments, e.g. - you should be able to claim back from your mother's funds, and your sister should agree to them without too much cheese-paring. Again, keep receipts. If you think you will be doing a substantial proportion of your total mileage on your mother's behalf, you should also be able to negotiate with your sister for your mother to pay a broadly equivalent proportion of your ongoing car expenses, such as maintenance, repairs and insurance.

This is a bit of a counsel of perfection - I do realise what a royal pain in the b.t.m. it is to have to account for every last penny - but that way everything is transparent, nobody should end up out of pocket and it shouldn't impact on your mother's transport/delivery needs.

If there is a problem with using your own car, then buy your mother's car. Start at the market rate, and deduct the deductibles as above. It would also be reasonable to point out to your sister the emotional benefit to your mother of her car still being on the scene; plus the time and trouble saved because you're not having to put the car up for external sale; and both of these can be translated into a further, nominal discount. Expenses going forward: your mother should be paying for mileage accrued solely and exclusively on her account, as above. You'll find it easier to keep track if you *only* use it for visiting her or making journeys on her behalf; but if you can't, keep a notebook and pen in the car and write down the mileage, then at the end of each month tot up the totals and work out the ratios. Ugh. My heart sinks at the thought of it. I used to have to do this between personal and business usage for my tax returns and it gave me a nervous tic. Sorry :(
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Unless this is a fairly new high end car it probably is not worth that much anyway, especially if you were to start charging mileage for you own car...
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It sounds to me that the car is being used for her care already. If Sister wants to sell the car and have you use your own, perhaps you should charge the going rate for car mileage in your area. This will help cover the gas, maintenance, and depreciation on your car. It won't feel good, most likely, but if Sister wants to sell the car, it doesn't mean you have to donate the use of your car. If your sister is POA, I would work it out with her before she sells the car.
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I think you're totally justified in using the car. It may not be worth a big falling out with your family but you should try and convince them of the fairness of the arrangement. It may end up as a judgement call on your part.
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