A Personal Care Agreement is a legal contract for service to be provided between a caregiver and a care recipient. This contract may be called a Caregiver Agreement or Personal Services Agreement, but they all mean that there is an employer-employee relationship between the two individuals.
What makes this agreement unique is that it is often used between relatives, for example, a parent and child. Let’s take a real world example:
Bill and Mary Jones are a married couple and they have two children, Susan and John. Bill and Mary live in a single family home in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Bill has Alzheimer’s and is in need of 24/7 supervision and assistance with activities of daily living. Mary has Parkinson’s and is also in need of assistance with activities of daily living. Susan and John have been taking turns caring for their parents for a few months now and it would appear that it would be better if Susan moved in with Bill and Mary and continued to take care of them.
Susan was employed full-time, but had to stop in order to take care of Mom and Dad. John is married with two kids and has a full-time job. If Susan moves in with Mom and Dad, she will care for them in the home and they won’t have to be transferred to an Assisted Living Facility or Nursing Home, at least for the time being.
The Personal Care Agreement will accomplish a number of goals. First, Mom and Dad will remain in the home and be cared for by their daughter. This will alleviate the need to transfer them to a facility or bring in a stranger as caregiver. Mom and Dad will pay Susan for the service of taking care of them. The “facility” for the purpose of the Agreement, is their home. The Agreement will be for a monthly fee. This fee should be based on fair market value care in the area. So, Susan will now have an income which she has to report, but since she had to give up her job to take care of Mom and Dad, this is a trade off she is willing to make.
The type of care or services are generally, cleaning, food preparation, medication management, transportation, assistance with dressing, bathing, toileting, and essentially providing a safe and clean environment for them to spend the rest of their lives in, which Susan was already doing.
The Personal Care Agreement must be in writing and Bill and Mary must pay Susan monthly for her services. It is best to have an experienced attorney prepare this Agreement to ensure that it will meet all the legal requirements. Finally, the payments to Susan will not be seen as gifts made to Susan would Bill and/or Mary ever have to apply for Medical Assistance (Medicaid).
If you or a loved one is interested in discussing a Personal Care Agreement, please call to schedule an elder law consultation with one of our attorneys.
SinclairProsser Law, LLC is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.