My siblings won't pay me for being mom's caregiver, what should I do?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 07, 2016
Petrosino asked...

My siblings don't want mom's money that was saved for her care given to me as the caregiver, but they will give it to a nursing home if she is in one. How should I handle this?

Community Answers

Granny2grandsons answered...

I am so sorry you have to deal with siblings and their "greed of money"! How was the money set up for her care? Do your siblings have part of the money or is it in a seperate account? Do you have a POA for this account and/or a durable POA for the care for you Mom? It would be great if you had both!

Sounds as if you are in possession of this money. Please keep a ledger so that you can account for every penny. Believe me, when Mom passes, the siblings will all of a sudden believe you owe them! Make sure you cover yourself by keeping this ledger (check register, whatever) to show how each and every dime is spent!

Does Mom have an attorney? Do you have a copy of her Will? You can always meet with attorney (they usually give you an hour free) and will be able to advise you legally on what you should/should not be doing or need to do.

I cannot stress enough the importance for keeping yourself safe!! Seeing an attorney will give you the much needed peace of mind you deserve! Sounds like you will be the only caregiver for Mom. It's a very hard, tiresome road you are on - but you will never regret it! It will bring joy to your heart to listen to Mom and be there with her - at least it did for me! Our oldest sibling "couldn't fit it in her social calendar" - but my brother and I were there for our Mom - and we have so many good (and funny) memories of our "caretakers roles". Mom also gave us good advice - the oldest sibling missed out on the most precious moments - but she never "got it" anyway!

Sending prayers and hugs!!!!!

Awitta answered...

I believe I have an ethical responsibility to respond to you, because I was once in your place -- now I am dealing with a lawsuit that has dragged on for a year. It has cost thousands of dollars, and is certainly not what my parents envisioned when they went without so that my sister and I could have a better life. I did nothing wrong -- I took care of my mother, and utilized only money that was my inheritance to care for my mom, in an assisted living that couldn't provide enough care. I worked part time, and took mom to doctors, fed her nightly, cooked, met with administrators, advocated for proper care, etc. (My sister's inheritance / POD accounts were not used, wish they had been, as that would have been more fair) After 10 years of care and mom's sad death, my sister finally found a way to make it into town. Why? No, not to even see her mother or a memorial service, but for a lawsuit!

OK -- this isn't about me, but about you, and what I wish I had done to prevent this situation. 1) Get a good elder law attorney who is reputable, and that you know doesn't drag things out -- they are expensive! Be specific about the situation, and state that you want to protect yourself from any lawsuit, (you think siblings who aren't caretakers and supportive could be thankful at the end -- sorry, they will likely care only about money) PROTECT YOURSELF NOW!

  1. Keep track of all accounts, keep all receipts, write down what you did at the end of the day. Travel to doctors? Travel to get meds? Surprise -- your time is valuable, write it down -- mileage, and what you did. Any withdrawals from accounts? Write where you transferred the money, and for what reason. (I transferred money to my sister's POD accounts early on in my care giving days, thinking she would be grateful to me, or make a phone call once in a while. No -- if it is legal and you have the authority, spread the care of your mom so your siblings and you pay for it equally! Keep tract of all withdrawals, deposits and transfers. Integrity and honesty will be questioned at the end, trust me. If their attorney is good, you could be harmed, no matter how much care, time, and love you gave.

  2. If you are not the type to be organized to keep track of everything, get programs or financial apps that keep dates and financial transactions. If you know you can't or won't do this, hire a personal organizer, or better yet, but more expensive, an accountant that you can meet with monthly. Keep one envelope with you at all times, and one tablet to jot notes. All receipts and transactions in the envelope, all personal notes (mom was sick, went to doctor X on ? day, for ?) As you do this through the years, you'll see that your labor and time, if it was privately hired out to a home health agency, would come to a large amount. Don't get greedy at the end, and don't expect to be paid for your sacrifice of your career or the time and love you gave. The work itself, although tough and overwhelming, is it's own reward. But if your distant sibling gets greedy, a good attorney will be able to use your records to back you up. Also, I don't know if nursing homes in your state are the same as Idaho, where I live, but the level and quality of care doesn't come close to the care someone can get at home. There may be medical assistance needed -- Home health agencies with a nurse, hospice, etc. can help you at home. Keep track of them and any charges not covered by Medicare!

Keep giving your love to your parent, you will grow because of it. Your siblings are missing out on a tough but worthwhile journey. After you meet with an attorney, ask if the siblings should be kept informed of what you are doing. Sometimes this encourages them to call and berate you for your choices, saying you're not taking of mom properly. (Yet they won't lift a finger!) Sometimes this protects you in the long run.

Sure wish I had had this advice beforehand, and followed it, no matter how overwhelmed I got! My life has been very difficult since my mom died, the lawsuit has interfered with the grieving I really need to do. My health deteriorated, and the courts locked up funds so I couldn't afford medical treatment. I harmed no one but me by not having protected myself. If you come from a dysfunctional family, it is likely that the dysfunction could greatly intensify after the death. I saw mean-spirited actions and complete blocking of communication, no matter how hard I tried. Be careful, protect yourself!