I Want My Caregivers In My Will
"I have had caregivers helping me on a twice-weekly basis for the last six months. They are two absolutely wonderful young ladies who don’t come from money.
These ladies help me by making meals, doing household chores, doing the laundry and a host of other things that I need done. I don’t believe I would be able to stay in my home without their help. I also have grown quite fond of them. They are kind, supportive when I am down, and simply a joy to be around. They are much more enjoyable than my own children.
My husband did quite well financially speaking, and I believe I am set for life. I already have a will leaving my estate to the children, but I am thinking of changing it to leave money to these two caregivers I have.
I realize that if my children find out what I have done, it will not go well. How best should I handle the news? Or do I just let them find out after my death?"
It’s clear that your caregivers are doing a nice job taking care of you. I’m so very glad you are having such a good experience with home care. I wish your experience for all who receive care in their homes.
Now let us get into your question and that is, should you leave your assets to your caregivers, and if so, how. It’s very tempting to want to give gifts and money to people we get to know, especially those who help us in a personal way like home care workers.
I strongly caution you about making any changes at this time to your will. Here are the things I want you to consider and weigh:
- The caregivers in your home have been with you for six months for once or twice a week. Do you really believe you know them better than your own children? What would be your reasoning to give some or all of your assets to those you’ve known six months versus your own children?
- Remember, you’re paying for the care you receive. It is the ladies’ job to care for you. They are not in your home out of love. Would they keep coming and doing the work if you didn’t pay them? I highly doubt it.
- Have you spoken with the organization that employs your caregivers, if they are not direct employees of yours? Most organizations have policies prohibiting gifts.
- I understand that you enjoy the company of your caregivers, but remember what I said in point number two. They are paid to care for you. Most people who work in home care are kind and caring. The profession attracts that kind of individual.
- Take a look at the relationship you have with your children. Did you really raise children who are so different from you? What has happened between you and your children? What’s the opportunity for repair?
Family dynamics are complicated, even in the most loving and cohesive families. Children and parents never see eye to eye on every single thing. You are two different generations in this parent/child relationship. Disagreements are going to happen.
Your expectations of your children may be higher than they can meet at this time, depending on their situations. Your needs may be greater than they can meet without outside help.
Changing a will late in life to give your assets to a caregiver is something I would think long and hard about. In most situations, I wouldn’t recommend it. Yes, you can do what you wish, but consider consulting with a family counselor as well as your lawyer before making such a move.
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