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.

Can someone with Alzheimer’s Disease sign a quit claim deed?

Q: I am a caregiver for an Alzheimer’s patient. I haven’t been paid for a year due to family of the patient mishandling of her finances. No one wants to care for her anymore now that all her funds are gone. I would like to know how can I protect myself so I don’t get cheated in the end, and someone be compensated for the job am doing. The only asset she has is her house and I would like to know if she can sign a deed or at least put my name on the title so I can have some say and not get kick to the curb after all my hard work

A: Having Alzheimer’s Disease doesn’t necessarily mean she is incompetent to sign a deed. However, if she is not competent she cannot sign a deed over to you. I am mystified as to how you are taking care of her and expecting payment without a written contract from her or her family. It is quite possible that at the end of her life, the family does not pay you. After she passes, if there is an estate opened, you can file a claim against the estate. If there is no estate opened, you can open one and file a claim against the estate or sue the family. In either case, you are swimming upstream without a written contract. You really need to get an agreement signed or you run the risk of not being reimbursed. If the family wants to pay you or wants to give you the house, it can be arranged legally. You should see a lawyer.