An increasing number of adult children are taking care of their parents at home. When adult children take on significant caregiver roles, often limiting their own employment opportunities, some families choose to enter into a Caregiver Agreement. This can be an excellent choice for a number of reasons, but you should understand the benefits of a well-drafted agreement and how to avoid unintended consequences. Ask an attorney who has an understanding of these issues to assist you in drafting an agreement for your family.
A well-drafted Caregiver Agreement (CA) can provide fair, enforceable, clear, and transparent directions and communication for the aging parent(s), the adult child caregiver(s), and the remaining family members. A CA can help prevent disputes and miscommunications between family members, it can define and clarify expectations of the care being given, and openly address compensation.
It’s wise to carefully consider all options before entering into any agreement, and an attorney can assist you with this process. Once you’ve decided that you need a CA, the attorney can assist you in drafting one that suits your family situation and addresses your family issues directly. An experienced attorney will work to make sure the draft is clear and without ambiguity – especially for the family members’ sake, but also because county, state, and federal agencies may be scrutinizing your CA for their purposes in the future.
A well-drafted CA can assist your family with addressing living arrangements; physical, mental, and social needs of your parents; medical care; finances; nutrition; transportation, just to name a few. You’ll want to decide how much and what kind of care will be provided, on what schedule, and the manner in which the caregiver will be compensated. You’ll need to be aware of the going rate of compensation for caregivers so that your CA does not appear to exaggerate compensation in either direction. Also, you’ll want to think about how your caregiver will be paid – who actually writes the checks, who’s keeping the books, and how to deal with complicated IRS issues and/or certain medical assistance benefits and eligibility issues. Further, you’ll want to consider how the family will communicate with each other about the care and confidentiality concerns of your individual family members.
In short, if you and your family are considering taking care of an aging parent yourselves, I strongly recommend that you consider a CA to assist all members of your family in understanding the challenges and benefits of taking care of loved ones at home. Talk to an attorney and draft a clear and thorough CA and use it to guide your family through this stage of your loved ones’ lives.This blog is written by Bridget-Michaele Reischl, Attorney DECORO LAW OFFICE, PLLC www.decorolaw.com