Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting Paid to Take Care of Mom or Dad

A huge swath of Americans -- nearly a quarter of the adult population -- provide long hours of voluntary care for older or sick family members and friends. These numbers are likely to grow as the population ages and more people live longer.

A small but growing number of families are taking an unusual step to acknowledge family caregivers. Rather than leave uneven bequests for their heirs, they are entering into formal "caregiver contracts," in which adult children or other relatives are hired, for modest salaries, to take care of elderly or disabled family members.

These arrangements, also called personal-service or personal-care agreements, help reward family members for the significant amounts of time, effort and money they often spend taking care of an elderly relative. They also can help reduce the size of a person's estate and may prevent battles between siblings and other family members.

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