Virtually all aging residents strive to create arrangements that will allow them to live at home and participate in their usual activities for as long as possible no matter what their specific healthcare needs. The ability to achieve this goal often hinges on the amount of planning that the individual has done beforehand to have the assets available to pay for the care. As we have frequently mentioned, long-term care insurance is one of the best ways of procuring this reality.
In addition, many area seniors are able to stay at home because they receive the assistance of family members. Tasks like house cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, driving to doctor’s appointments, and similar aid is commonly provided by children and other relatives. This aid is frequently given ad hoc, without any formal arrangement between the senior and their loved one. Yet, for many local families it may be beneficial to create a specific New York caregiver agreement to provide legal protections to the relationship.
Reuters published a story this week on the increasing popularity and usefulness of these formal legal relationships between parents and family caretakers. The arrangement is mutually beneficial. For the younger caregiver, the contract allows them to provide assistance to their loved one in situations where they otherwise might not be able to afford it. Additionally, the senior may use the personal service contract to protect their assets. For example, if at-home care is initially provided without payment then the senior may ultimately lose assets to pay for eventual nursing home care. But if the senior pays their loved one a reasonable sum for caretaking duties, then the assets would not complicate the senior’s ability to qualify for Medicaid if a nursing home stay is eventually needed down the road.
Of course it is important for families to use the agreements properly. The care-giving relative must ensure that the taxes are paid on the money received, that the charges are reasonable for the services provided, and that documentation is proper.
Our New York elder law attorneys know well the benefits that come with caregiver agreements for some local families. Many children may not initially feel comfortable receiving compensation for care that they would try to provide without pay. However, careful thought often reveals that the agreement is superior to the informal relationship for both parties. All families who are unsure if this would be a helpful option should sit down with a professional, learn the details, and honestly consider whether it is a logical choice in their situation.
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