Often people want to gift property, such as their home, to a longtime caregiver. When someone has dedicated many years to your care and comfort, it is very generous to protect your caregiver’s future by leaving them a home to enjoy. Many people want to name a beneficiary in their will who is not a relative, and leave money or property to a non-family caregiver. If you decide to gift property or money to a non-family caregiver, it’s important that consult an experienced estate planning attorney so that your wishes are followed and you do not unintentionally create financial and legal burdens for your caregiver.
In order to protect seniors from financial elder abuse, the Illinois Probate Act of 1975 addresses non-related caregivers who are named in a will or trust. Under Illinois law, any property transfer greater than $20,000 left to a non-related caregiver is presumed to be fraudulent if the will or trust is challenged.
It is generous and thoughtful to leave property to a caretaker who has become like family to you. There are actions you can take to be sure your wishes are carried out and the caregiver receives their inheritance without undergoing financial and legal
1. Let Your Family Know Your Intentions
Inform your family of your intention to leave a financial gift to your caregiver, and why you have made that decision. Many families don’t live near each other, and aren’t aware of how much a caretaker means to their parent or grandparent. If your family does not know about your decision until after your death, they may be suspicious about the caretaker’s influence on you.
2. Consult An Attorney
An experienced estate planning and elder law attorney will advise you to inform your family of your plans so they do not contest or challenge your will. An estate planning attorney can help you set up a trust to pay the property taxes or other property expenses during your caretaker’s lifetime, Tell your attorney that you have informed your family about your plans to leave money to your caregiver, and request that your attorney advise you on the next steps necessary to protect your caregiver’s inheritance. An estate planning attorney can help you set up the legal documents to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
3. Document That You Are Of Sound Mind
If your family objects to your plan to leave money to your caregiver, or if you feel they will object and challenge your will, ask your estate planning attorney to help you document that you are of sound mind and not under the influence of the caregiver.
When you decide to leave property to your caregiver, you can protect them from future stress and expense by consulting an experienced estate planning attorney to guide you on how to legally establish that you were not a victim of senior fraud or elder abuse.
An experienced Illinois estate planning attorney can explain the best ways to provide for your caregiver in your will, and applicable laws and recommendations. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-687-9100.