Reliable Disability & Estate Planning

Through Every Age & Stage of Life

Caring for a Parent? Get it in Writing.

Mother and daughter

If it’s not in writing, then it didn’t happen.

I have shared this grim sentiment with more clients than I care to recount.  As the story too often goes, you begin helping mom or dad, here and there.  Picking up groceries; making meals; packing medications.  Over time, these responsibilities elevate.  You begin providing hands-on care—help with showering, dressing, and more.  In some cases, you move in.  And at some point, your parent’s care needs become too vast, and too expensive, for you to manage.

Then, you walk through our door.  And I ask the most unpopular question:  Do you have a written caregiver agreement?  In other words, did you keep a written record of your caregiving time and tasks?  But why would you want a caregiver agreement?

In the world of Medicaid planning, the State applies rules that do not always match the reality of our world.  The reality is that children care for parents because they love them; not for any personal gain.  However, the State will not recognize the care that a child provided unless there was a written caregiver agreement in place.

Get It In Writing

Having a written caregiver agreement provides many advantages when an individual applies for long-term care.  For example, a written caregiver agreement can be a key tool in preserving an applicant’s house.  Parents and children alike want to “save the house”.  But, parents aren’t allowed to give the house to their kids without proper planning.  The caregiver agreement contributes to this planning—when executed properly, a parent can transfer his or her home to a caregiver-child.

In addition, a caregiver agreement permits a parent to compensate a child for care.  Many children feel squeamish about receiving payment for care, feeling as if they are “taking” from mom or dad.  However, payments to a caregiver child help the parent to meet the low eligibility limits for Medicaid.  At the same time, the child can save the funds and use them for his or her parent’s benefit.

While having a caregiver agreement may feel cold or counterintuitive, it is in fact aligned with the altruistic motives of a caregiver-child. By having a written agreement in place, clients can preserve family assets and access care without delay.  If you are a caregiver child or parent receiving care, we encourage you to contact us to create your Medicaid-compliant caregiver agreement.