• =?UTF-8?Q?Fottrell_-_I_take_care_of_my_father_=e2=80=94_shouldn?= =?UTF

    From a425couple@21:1/5 to All on Sun Feb 4 11:28:57 2018
    Personal Finance
    The Moneyist
    I take care of my father — shouldn’t he leave his estate to me instead
    of my sister?
    Published: Feb 4, 2018 11:14 a.m. ET

    This woman cooks all her father’s meals and drives him to appointments



    Dear Moneyist,

    I’m hoping you can help, if not with advice and practical change, with developing perspective. I live in Massachusetts. I’m middle-aged,
    disabled, and have two kids. One is in middle school, the other is an
    adult, but not fully launched.

    I moved in with my father after my mother died. He cannot live alone
    safely. I live “rent free,” but pay utilities, buy the groceries, pay
    the cleaners and yard man. I also have underwritten a great deal of
    travel for my dad.

    I also cook all of his meals, do the shopping and errands, drive him to appointments, take him to see his friends, and run his small business.
    I’ve invested my own, and my kids’ money into necessary repairs to his house, plus applied enormous sweat equity.

    The estate is to be divided evenly between my sibling and myself upon my dad’s passing. I used to be okay with that. But now? Not so much. We’ve received literally 90 minutes of help in the last three years. She
    doesn’t chip in financially, temporally, or physically. (Nor does her husband, who doesn’t work.) She has advanced degrees, excellent
    retirement savings, owns her home, and has a fine career.

    I have Social Security and child support (the latter for just 10 more
    years.) I used to be fine with the “fairness” of the estate plan. Now I find myself very hurt and angry. It didn’t help this year that I alone wasn’t given a present at Christmas. What do you think? How can I either broach this subject, or alter my thinking. It is hurting me and my
    relationship with my dad. Though I doubt he is aware of that.

    Dear Sarah,

    You could walk out that door any minute, and not look back. But you
    didn’t. You chose to stay. Your dad can decide to leave his estate to
    the dogs and cats’ home if he wants. But he has chosen to leave it
    50/50. It’s a messy business. You all have choices, but how do you
    navigate those? Firstly, let me say: I’m with you. If you are taking
    care of your father and your sister is financially secure, I see no
    reason why he shouldn’t leave you his home.

    Life isn’t fair. And neither are inheritances. Would your sister think
    it’s fair? Probably not. Is it fair for you to do all the heavy lifting
    with your dad while your sister doesn’t help? That’s not fair either. There’s no magic formula in situations like this where everyone walks
    away a winner. You are trying to do the right thing with good intentions
    and no resentments, so I absolutely think you should go through your
    father’s finances with him and ask him about his estate plan.

    Trump Official: Medicaid Not Designed for Able-Bodied People
    Also see: My elderly father wants to tip his home health aide $1,000 —
    is he becoming enthralled?

    Then, kindly and without rancor, give him your considered opinion. Your
    father has many options open to him. He could give you the right to live
    in his home for the rest of your life and then split the proceeds from
    its sale equally between his grandchildren. That way, you address the
    financial inequity in your sister’s life and your own, while still
    ensuring that his estate is divided equally between his family members.

    You’re not alone. More than 43.5 million adults in the U.S. have
    provided unpaid care to an adult or a child within the prior 12 months, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute, the advocacy group for
    Americans aged 50 years and older. More than 18% of the respondents
    interviewed reported being full-time caregivers. Some 60% of caregivers
    are female and the average age is 49.

    The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and social security
    benefits of these caregivers of parents are nearly $3 trillion,
    according to “The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working
    Caregivers.” The cost impact of caregiving on the individual caregiver
    in terms of lost wages and Social Security benefits equates to around
    $324,044 for a woman and $303,880 for a man. Your sister may also be
    entitled to reimbursements.

    Recommended: Our home was destroyed in a fire – now my siblings want money

    As former MarketWatch writer Charles Passy wrote about taking care of
    his own father: “I’m a member of what’s been dubbed the “sandwich generation” — that is, the population of middle-aged adults (I’m 51) who are caught between taking care of their children and taking care of
    their parents. And a sizable population it is: Almost half of adults in
    their 40s and 50s fit my profile, according to the Pew Research Center,
    a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, D.C.”

    In the meantime, you have other financial alternatives. There are many
    online resources to see if your father qualifies for public benefits
    from state, federal, and private programs that help pay for groceries, prescription drugs, health insurance and home help. The Massachusetts
    Caregiver Homes Program allows family members who act as caregivers such
    as yourself to be reimbursed for their services by MassHealth, according
    to the Heritage Law Center.

    If you are not happy after discussing this with your father, you have
    the option to walk.

    Do you have questions about inheritance, tipping, weddings, family
    feuds, friends or any tricky issues relating to manners and money? Send
    them to MarketWatch’s Moneyist and please include the state where you
    live (no full names will be used).

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    Hello there, MarketWatchers. Check out the Moneyist private Facebook
    group, where we look for answers to life’s thorniest money issues.
    Readers write in to me with all sorts of dilemmas: inheritance, wills,
    divorce, tipping, gifting. I often talk to lawyers, accountants,
    financial advisers and other experts, in addition to offering my own
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