Should a live-in caretaker get a larger inheritance?

| Apr 27, 2018 | Firm News

There are many things to think about during your estate planning, especially if you want to preserve family harmony after you are gone. You and other Colorado residents will want to help your loved ones avoid a dispute over your estate. You may achieve this by carefully and clearly outlining your wishes in your will or trust. However, it may be difficult to avoid a fight over your will if your family members believe they received an unfair portion of the inheritance.

An adult child or grandchild who lives with parents and cares for their physical and financial needs during their final years can be one of the most contentious aspects to go to probate court. If you have a live-in caregiver, you will need to approach your estate planning with tact and sensitivity.

Challenges of being a caregiver

People who serve as caregivers for older relatives make great sacrifices to do so, often while feeling isolated from their friends, interests and other family members. For example, your child may have had to reduce work hours or quit a job if you  have a disability and need assistance with your daily routine.

Your live-in caregiver may not have time or money to pursue romantic relationships if single, work on a marriage or go out for a break. Being a caregiver can take a physical and emotional toll, especially if other relatives are unable or unwilling to help. It can be considered fair and deserved to leave your live-in caregiver a bigger inheritance to compensate for his or her time and effort and show your appreciation. Unfortunately, other family members may not see it this way.

Explaining your decision

You might avoid a dispute by leaving each of your children an equal inheritance, but this might leave your caregiver feeling slighted. One way to address this problem is to create a video or include a letter in your will that fully explains your reasons for giving your caregiver more.

No solution is perfect, however, especially for this sensitive topic. Therefore, it may be wise to seek professional advice.