Should I charge my father-in-law for shared expenses? I have 4 kids at home and he is becoming a financial burden. What is fair?

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Husker - I just read your other post that mentioned a spend-down towards the possibility of Medicaid covering if your FIL eventually needs to be placed in a skilled nursing facility- fancy talk for nursing home. So I'm gonna roll that into this reply as it's probably more important than a shared expense dollar figure - cart before the horse and all that.

You mentioned your FIL is receiving a pension along with social security. Depending on the amount of each it could be possible that your FILs monthly income level would be too high to qualify for Medicaid assistance.

So before you start spending all his currently saved assets it would probably be a good idea to find an elder care attorney who specializes in Medicaid in your state.

If your FIL does not qualify for Medicaid due to his monthly income - you're going to want to investigate a Miller Trust - which is a way to legally portion off the excess monthly money and therefore become eligible for Medicaid. 

If your FILs monthly income is under the amount needed to qualify for Medicaid- but he has saved assets- yes, you are likely going to want to begin a legal spend down. Spend down laws/guidelines can vary from state to state so you need to find out what's allowable in yours.

But for sure - no state allows a spend down by way of gifting - which can be intrutpted as such if rent or "shared expenses" is not carefully and legally contracted. This is when a legally drawn up - by an attorney- caregivers contract comes into the picture. You could set a monthly rate for your FIL to pay at this time that would be a comprehensive figure. 

I would also suggest discussing with the attorney who is advising you on all the stuff I've already mentioned - the legalities of using the term "shared expenses" vs "rent" or even leaving out either term and grouping it all under "caregiver agreement". What might save you in Income taxes - might cost you in Medicaid penalties. I could just be over cautious here - but better safe than sorry, right?
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He basically needs 24 hour care. We need to shop for him, cook, clean up, sort his meds, drive him to Dr. appts., manage visitors, his laundry, etc. He has his own room, and shares the family room, kitchen, and a bathroom. Once a week we bring him upstairs to take a shower. He can walk with a walker. He needs to be awakened in the morning, his vitals taken, meds given (3 times daily). He can barely walk. He needs basically everything done for him. My wife, myself, or one of my children need to be with him at all times.
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I think a lot depends on his needs and habits.

How much extra work are you doing just for him? Is he eating a lot - requiring specific or special food and drink? How much space is allotted just for him? Are you running him out on errands and appointments or even making special trips to the store just for him? What are his habits regarding heating and cooling? Water usage? Is he using the internet and watching cable TV?

In other words some specifics would help to better assess his personal liability to the family budget.

Lastly - what shape are his own finances in? Existing on social security or nice retirement nest egg?
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