Attorney & Mediator
Attorney & Mediator

You are moving Mom or Dad into your home – can you charge for this?

This is a topic that causes family feuds. Can you charge your parents if they are living in your home? This is like walking across a field that is full of land mines. There are two sides to every coin.

First, why are you moving mom or dad in with you and where are you moving them from? Do all of your siblings know? This is critical. If you are making this decision by yourself, without input from your siblings, you will be criticized.

Are you moving them from assisted living to save money? Is this because they will run out of money or because you are trying to preserve your inheritance? This is an important distinction.

Assuming that you have informed the rest of the family that you are moving mom or dad in with you, what can you charge for?

Can you charge to remodel parts of your home for them? It depends on what you are remodeling. Are you changing a bathroom so that it accommodates a wheelchair? Or are you adding on that extra bedroom and bathroom that you always wanted? Are you putting a ramp on so that there is wheelchair access or are you finally paving the driveway after 10 years? The remodeling has to be for their benefit, not yours.

What about charging for room and board? Isn’t it cheaper for them to live with you at a reduced rate than to pay for assisted living? And, aren’t they eating your food and using your electricity?

There are two sides to this coin. From the perspective of the family member with whom the parent is residing, there is an increase in cost for food and utilities. Additionally, the family member is “on duty” 24/7. They would pay so much more at assisted living and your time is valuable. After all, aren’t these other siblings miles away and not assisting with this what so ever?

From the perspective of the other siblings, it may not make as much sense. They may look at you charging mom or dad room and board and say “who does that?” – “who charges their parent for their food?” They may also see this as your attempt to get a larger piece of the inheritance pie by getting paid up front.

How do you resolve this? Conversation. Talk this over, in advance, with all other family members. Discuss the pros and cons. Get input from everyone and put all the issues on the table. While everyone may not agree in the end, they will not feel they were blind sided and cheated.