Relatives as Paid Caregivers: Good Idea or Bad?

Relatives as Paid Caregivers: Good Idea or Bad?Some Florida estate planning attorneys are seeing a growing trend of middle-aged unemployed children being paid by their parents as caregivers. Because of the economic downturn that caused some older adults to lose their jobs and the increased cost of long-term care, this would seem to be a good solution for all involved. And it can be, as long as the proper guidelines are established.

A survey by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving showed that 43.5 million Americans are now providing some level of care for a relative or friend over the age of 50 – an increase of 28 percent since 2004.

Families who wish to enter into an arrangement with a relative to care for an elderly person should consider consulting with an elder law or estate planning attorney to draft a personal care contract which documents responsibilities and sets a standard rate of pay. Without this document, Medicaid may consider payments to caregivers to be a gift, which could affect coverage.

Another avenue is to provide tax-free gifts to caregivers in lieu of a salary, which also helps to reduce the beneficiary’s taxable estate. A Florida elder law attorney can help you decide the best option for your particular situation.

Our experienced and trusted estate planning attorneys have been serving Treasure Coast families for decades, and Michael Fowler is one of only nine attorneys in the state of Florida who is double board-certified in wills trusts and estates and in elder law. Contact us for your initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.

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