Can I charge my parent rent if they live with me?

Taking care of a parent can be a financial burden. Adding an extra body to any household increases the overall cost of a household. One solution is to charge your parent rent and have them pay a portion of the costs. This is always difficult to determine especially when there are siblings involved.

To avoid post accounting issues, I would recommend the following:

1. Before setting the amount, meet with your siblings to discuss mom or dad’s income.

2. Discuss the increased burden or impact on your household. You do not need to get into your finances and ability to pay. This is about fairness to you and not increasing your burden.

3. After two months, look at pre and post move-in utility bills and groceries to determine the increase in actual costs. After this review, meet with your siblings and make the appropriate adjustments, if any.

4. Use an online accounting system to track costs and payments. If there are any questions, you can simply provide a printout of what has been going on.

Taking simple precautions may avoid the intrafamily squabbles that can turn your effort to help mom or dad into a bad experience.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have at

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Am I Stealing From Mom?

When your mother moves in to your house, it is usually done to help your mother out. This often includes taking care of her physically and taking care of her finances. You pay her bills and take her to the doctor. You do all of this because you love her. Then you start hearing from a sibling or two that they think you are taking advantage of your mother and they want to see all her bank statements so they can track what you have been doing.

Utah does have a set of laws that deal with elder financial abuse and certain persons are obligated to report any suspected activity. Your siblings may just want to make sure mom is being protected rather than gathering evidence to report a crime. You should, however, be careful when meeting with them. Make sure no one is recording the conversation and that you are clear and forthright. Better yet, get an attorney and have them review the bank statements and prepare your response to your siblings.

The key is be transparent with your mother’s finances. You have to make sure that each transaction you do for your mother is documented and can be explained without context. This means that it should be obvious that it was an expense for your mother and not disguised as your taking advantage of her finances. Keep records and receipts. Think of it like being audited by the IRS. The more you can document, the better off you are!

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How do I Contest a Will?

Elder Law includes estate planning and making sure that your wishes and desires are carried out. One of the key documents that sets out your desires is your Will. When you pass, your Will is submitted to the Probate Court, a personal representative is appointed, and the the terms of your Will are carried out. The problem occurs, however, when an heir wants to challenge your Will. The grounds for challenging your Will are typically:

1. Undue Influence: Someone has had such an influence on you that your own desires set forth in your Will are theirs and not yours.

2. Lack of Competency: You lacked the fundamental knowledge of what your assets were, who your heirs were, and what you were doing at the time you executed your Will.

3. Improper Execution: Their was and is a technical flaw in your Will that keeps it from being valid.

When you use an online will for your Will, these issues become even more pronounced as their is no neutral third party (your attorney) to verify that these things were done properly and without undue influence.

If you have any questions, please visit my website at

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The Power of a Power of Attorney

What would happen if you became incapacitated today? How would you be taken care of? Who would pay your bills? Who would make decisions for you?

If you do not know the answers to these questions, then you need a power of attorney. A power of attorney is the legal authorization for another to act on your behalf. While it is true that another may be able to do so without a power of attorney in certain cases, the power of attorney ratifies such person’s decisions and keeps another from challenging the decision. This gives the decision maker peace of mind.

A power of attorney also lets your decision maker know what they can and cannot do. You can limit a power of attorney to authorize only certain actions. You can also have a general power of attorney that grants the decision maker a wide latitude in his/her decision making.

The alternative to a power of attorney is expensive and can be time consuming. This alternative is called getting a guardianship and requires filing paperwork with the court and attending a hearing. Another can also challenge the appointment of the guardianship.

For these reasons, get a power of attorney. Do not rely on an on-line form as they are generic and one size does not fit all. A power of attorney is not expensive and can save you time and money in the long run.

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4 Estate Planning Questions to Ask Yourself

When meeting with a potential estate planning client, there are always some simple basic questions that I ask them to consider. They may seem commonsensical but they are the key to begin an estate plan.

1. Who do you trust? Appointing a personal representative, an attorney-in-fact, or a trustee requires knowing how a person will act when they have power and control.

2. What stuff do you have? Knowing what you have helps to know how to take care of it and how to transfer it.

3. Do you want your heirs to have equal shares or do you have something specific in mind? Most want it divided equally. Sometimes this is out of fear that the heirs will fight and sometimes it is out of convenience because it is easier than making specific designations.

4. Who don’t you trust? Who would challenge your estate plan and potentially make life miserable for your other heirs? We can always write them out and take steps to create greater barriers for them to challenge.

If you have any further questions, please visit my website at

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Why You Need an Elder Law Attorney

When a loved one is in need of chronic care, they will need someone to advise them and if need be advocate for them on the following issues:

  • Medicare Rights
  • Medicaid Rights
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Housing Descrimination
  • Financing Care
  • Quality of Care
  • Getting Care

Having an Elder Law attorney on your team as an adviser and advocate can make the process much easier.  Call me today if you have questions or need at adviser (801) 285-0886.

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Nursing Home Care

Leaving a loved one in the care of a nursing home requires research. However, even the best research does not mean that you will get the care you want for your loved one. There are several common areas to look for to make sure your loved one is receiving the proper care:

1. Understaffing: What do you see and notice when you are there? How are other residents being treated?

2. Neglect: What is the quality of the food? Have there been falls? Is your loved one clean and dry?

3. Pressure Ulcers: Are there any lesion that are caused by unrelieved pressure?

4. Abuse: Any abnormal or frequent bruising or lesions?

Stay on top of your loved one’s care to make sure that they are being taken care of.

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The Battle Over Where to Bury Dad

While this may sound absurd, this happens more often than you think. Typically, the battle is over a child wanting to bury dad somewhere near that child or somewhere that the other children do not want. It may seem petty, but these things happen. It can be even worse when there is a second marriage and the children want their dad to be buried next to their mom and not the second wife.

The solution is to leave a burial directive stating what your preferences are or buy a plot and state the specific plot where you want to be buried.

The goal of end of life planning is to make it easier for your children and to lessen potential conflicts.

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3 Reasons to Use and Elder Law Attorney

End of life decisions are tough to make and tough to want to think about. I hear from my clients all the time that they don’t want to think about the hard decisions that need to be made in the last years of their lives. For instance, when I ask a client who they want to change their diapers, I typically get a response that they had not even thought of that.

There are three key ways an Elder Law Attorney can help:

1. Using a holistic approach to plan for your end of life.
2. Experience with asking the hard questions.
3. Providing solutions to the hard questions based on your life situation.

An Elder Law Attorney can help you with your unique family situation.

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5 Steps for Trust Administration

5 Steps for Trust Administration.

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