Every year across America, more than 43 million people act as unpaid caregivers for a family member, usually an aging parent; residents of New York are no exception. Sometimes, this is as simple as an adult child overseeing issues like finances and medical care. Other times, though, the care extends well beyond this and has a marked financial impact on the lives of caregivers. The good news is that – from home health care expenses to eventual nursing home stays — there are ways to create legal agreements like a Personal Care Agreement that help protect caregivers legally and financially.
Caregivers for elderly parents are often placed in a position that jeopardizes the financial future of both the individual and their families. They may be forced to scale back hours at work or pass on a promotion because of the amount of time required to care for their aging relative. Because of this, some families choose to consult an elder law attorney and create a Personal Care Agreement.
A Personal Care Agreement helps to legally outline who is handling which care aspects and how much time is being spent to provide that care, then details compensation for that time. Such an agreement can be used for hired help, but often they are implemented by family members who are acting as caregivers. This agreement can help protect a family member, such as an adult child, who exits the workforce or drastically reduces work hours in order to care for a loved one.
A Personal Care agreement may help provide financial security to this adult child caregiver, ensuring that the individual will not be subjected to excessive financial consequences and helping other family members to understand the caregiving responsibilities involved. With an attorney’s help, a Personal Care Agreement can also demonstrate legally that the care payments for such home health care expenses were a necessary, legitimate expense. This helps avoid later issues should Medicaid assume the family was attempting to hide assets. Though the process is an involved and complex one, a New York elder law attorney will be able to offer invaluable guidance throughout the process.
Source: marketwatch.com, “Read this before becoming your parents??? caregiver“, Jeanette Pavini, Feb. 22, 2017