Can my sister charge 65K for caring for my father?

Q: Can a person pay themselves for care giving when the person being cared for lives full time in a care giving facility? My sister paid herself $60,000.00 as a caregiver to our father retroactively for 2011 and 2012 while our father lived with her. She had him sign a POA (revoked to herself only) in October 2010. Most of that time, he was self-sufficient and allowed to come and go as he pleased. They left a key for him outside of their house. She works full time. He has Alzheimer’s and caring for him did become harder. He was moved to a home in April 2013. She has paid herself a total of $64,000.00 for 2013, 2014 & 2015. At this point it would be my contention that she is only performing duties of a POA and not providing care giving services. How can she when he is receiving around the clock care in an Alzheimer’s facility? She is not doing very much that I can see. (Scott Township, PA)

A: You should speak with an attorney. If the POA appointed her as caretaker and authorized payment at the going rate, or if she was operating under a legal caretaker contract, then she meets the first hurdle in my opinion. She would need to justify her payment by showing a record of the hours she worked, services performed and costs paid out of her pocket to. If the POA did not authorize her caretaker services and she over billed, you can challenge this in court. It will require the services of a lawyer to examine the POA and advise you about filing for an accounting. The sooner you act, the better, as she may burn through the money and then collecting it from her may be a futile effort. Also, you can call adult services if you think father has been financially exploited. Also, here is a potential Medicaid issue here your father ever needs to qualify, which you should discuss with the attorney.

Can I be paid for my POA services?

Q: I am a power of attorney for my wife’s Aunt. I do everything from pay bills for nursing home, do income tax, get health ins.etc. I take care of her house, clean, sprinklers on and off, buy things she needs, check medical bills, and a whole lot more. My question is, how much can I charge her monthly. I drive 45 minutes, 2 days a week to make sure house is ok. Is $300 a month ok!, or, is it too much or not enough. Thank you for your input! (West Newton, PA)

A: You can charge a fee for your services as an Agent on the Power of Attorney (POA) if authorized by the language contained in the POA. If the POA does not mention a specific dollar amount, it probably says a “reasonable fee”. If so, the fee must be reasonable compared to the normal fee charged by elderly caretakers. You may want to investigate. It may be in the $20 to $30 per hour range. Beware however, if she ever needs to apply for Medicaid in the near future, these payments could be considered a transfer without fair consideration and could disqualify her from receiving Medicaid benefits. If you fell she may need Medicaid in the future, you need to meet with an Elder Law attorney who is versed in Medicaid law, to review the entire situation.