When a senior family member becomes disabled or reaches an age where they need some assistance in their daily life, the responsibility to care for these family members often falls to the younger, and more able-bodied members of the family.

A personal care agreement is a contract typically made between an elderly or disabled family member and a relative who agrees to provide caregiver services. These agreements are most common between adult children and their parents, although other relatives can get involved.

Personal care agreements are important in helping families avoid conflict about who will provide the necessary care and how much money will be exchanged. They can serve as a legal document that clarifies the agreed-upon duties and compensation, as well as holding all parties accountable to the agreement. These contracts can also clear up later confusion about inheritances.

Personal Care Agreement Basics

There are three essential requirements to fulfill a personal care agreement:

  1. It must be in writing.
  2. The payment covers care to be provided in the future–– not for care already provided in the past.
  3. Reasonable compensation for care–– not more than what would be paid to a local third party for the same services.

Tips for a Well-rounded Personal Care Agreement

Because this is a document that can be used to guide litigation if necessary, there needs to be several specifics included in a personal care agreement. The following points should be included in any care agreements:

  • The date the care agreement begins
  • The frequency of provided care services (Ex. “No less than 20 hours a week, no more than 100 hours a month”)
  • A thorough description of the care services that will be provided (Ex. “Caregiver will provide transportation to all appointments and errands for groceries and medication.”)
  • The amount and how often a caregiver is to be compensated (Ex. weekly or biweekly)
  • The length of which the agreement is in effect (Ex. 6 months, one year, or the remainder of the person’s lifetime).
  • The location where services will be provided (Ex. The person’s home, the caregiver’s own home, a senior home, etc.)
  • A statement about how and when the agreement can be modified
  • Signatures by each party and the date the agreement is signed

The Questions to Consider with Family

In order to come to clear decisions that will be written into the agreement, your family will have to come together and have conversations that can– sometimes –be difficult. The following are some questions to address and guide the decision-making process between parties:

  • What are the specific duties of the caregiver?
  • What are the wishes of the person receiving care? How can care be given to improve the quality of their life?
  • How long will the agreement last and who will take over if something unexpected happens to the primary caregiver?
  • How will compensation be paid? Weekly? A lump sum up front?
  • How will the personal care agreement impact family estate plans?
  • Who holds Power of Attorney?
  • Are there Medicaid “spend down” or “look back” period considerations?
  • Is there a Health Care Directive?

What to do next if you think you need this type of agreement?

Depending on the needs of your ill or elderly family member, it may be time to draft a personal care agreement. For that you are going to need the best of Elder Law and Estate planning firms in the county.  To this day, the Beck Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm combines years of experience with continuing education to stay on top of the leading edge of planning and law practices. You can rely on us to create the perfect plan for your future, whatever your wishes may be. Feel free to contact us and get answers to your questions today.