These case studies, while based on actual client experiences, are intended for illustration purposes only. They should not be used as a basis for determining a course of action in any other case. The options demonstrated herein should be considered only after consultation with an experienced elder law attorney: the laws are constantly changing and, in addition, a seemingly similar situation may be subject to a drastically different result due to minor factual differences not apparent from these illustrations (in fact, more favorable options may be available due to these variables).
Elder Law: Personal Services Contract
Betty was unable to continue to live alone due to progressive dementia. Her daughter Carole did not want Betty to live in a nursing home, rather, she wanted to try to care for Betty in her home, but was not sure if they could afford it. Carole contacted several home care providers to evaluate Betty needs and obtained quotes for their services while Carole was at work. The fees average approximately $2,500 per month, two and one half times Betty’s monthly income from Social Security of $1,000. These services did not include evenings or weekends. Betty had no savings. Betty had the money from the sale of her home ($80,000) but, still, she would run out of money in a little over four years, plus Carole was not happy having a stranger care for her mother most of the time. Further, Betty preferred to have Carole care for her.
Based on Betty’s age, we indicated that Betty could purchase a particular type of life estate in Carole’s home ($100,000 value) for $40,000. We also suggested that a Personal Services Contract be created whereby Betty would hire Carole to provide full-time services. This meant that Carole could quit her job (she was going to retire in a few years anyway, already had a vested pension and had health care coverage through her husband’s employer). Under the terms of the Contract, Betty would pay Carole $2,500.00 per month for her services. Because Carole was now collecting her pension, she was able to set aside most of this money each month into a Precatory Trust fund kept for Betty’s needs, adding to the $40,000 originally deposited from the life estate money. In over just one year, Betty would deplete the rest of her money from the sale of her home. Carole could continue to be paid from the $1,000 in monthly income for her services. Moreover, through application made by this Firm, we obtained approval for respite home based service assistance from Medicaid (approximately 20 hours per week). Of course, the trust funds continued to be available to Betty for her needs, but were protected if she required nursing home care in the future.