From our “Ask a Question” mailbag: My mother has Alzheimer’s, so we have sold her house and moved her into my house where my wife and I care for her. My brother is emotionally supportive, but he lives in California so he does not help out with her day-to-day care or decisions dealing with her health or assets. Though she is cooperative, the Alzheimer’s makes caring for her a near full-time job and we have spent a great deal of money on alterations to the house. Can I be reimbursed from her estate for these expenses?
By saying that “we have sold her house” would indicate that either yourself or your brother and you have a Durable Power of Attorney from your mother. If she has not yet signed one but is still competent, she should certainly sign one immediately. Alzheimer’s comes on gradually, so if she has not yet diminished too far she can still sign a power of attorney.
Within the terms of most durable general powers of attorney is the power for her agent to pay for her expenses. I would have to see the language, but likely this paragraph would cover the use of her funds to pay for the cost of her care and for alterations to your house as long as those alterations are just for her care (no multi-media rooms, wine cellars, etc). To prevent bad feelings and future disputes with your brother, it would be wise to discuss the use of your mother’s money for reimbursements prior to taking payments.
If you have any other questions about Alzheimer’s and Estate Planning, feel free to contact our office for a free consultation.