When someone dies, heirs will often have the opportunity to choose who will receive the estate. A testamentary gift can make a family caregiver a beneficiary, but their rights can be superseded by other family members’ legal rights. In many cases, the surviving spouse is granted the right to claim the estate
Unpaid family caregivers are covered by employment laws
The federal government has enacted a number of laws to help unpaid family caregivers find work. These laws provide additional Medicaid funding and retirement income to these caregivers, and also provide tax credits for eligible caregivers. The state of Massachusetts is currently considering similar legislation.
But employers are lagging behind. Only 13 percent of private-sector employees currently have paid leave policies. Moreover, most corporate family leave policies cover new parents only. Even so, many employers cap the amount of replacement pay at two weeks or less. Some companies, like Capital One, cap it at three days.
They should be paid
In many cases, the family caregiver does not receive explicit compensation for the care they provide. This often causes financial hardship and may expose them to major health risks. Non-family caregivers, on the other hand, typically expect explicit compensation. They are often seen as employees of the care recipient. In some cases, testamentary transfers can alleviate this apparent discrepancy.
Caregivers should be compensated for the time and care they give, as well as any additional expenses they incur. This may involve monetary payments, free or reduced room, and board, or some combination of both. It is important to involve the family and keep the situation open for negotiation.
They should be recognized in the obituary
While drafting an obituary, it is important to remember that the rights of caregivers are not recognized in the obituary. The power of attorney ceased to exist at the moment of death and the caregiver has no legal status. For example, the caregiver cannot make funeral arrangements or dispose of the body. Therefore, the caregiver’s name should not be included.
The obituary should list all living and deceased relatives. It should also mention if the deceased had children and grandchildren. A person’s family should be acknowledged in the obituary, as well as their cherished friends. It is also appropriate to mention how many great-grandchildren they had, if there are any. The obituary should also mention whether the funeral was held at the funeral home, the church, or a cemetery.