Cranford, NJ asked in Estate Planning for New Jersey

Q: Can you be compensated for the care of an elderly individual after their passing while dividing inheritance?

My father died in 2020 I am next blood relative. He was named in his mother's will for his inheritance. I have been kept out of most of the happenings but understand that most of the inheritance was based on the sale of her home. The home sold and while I understand there were costs involved, they are trying to offer me half of the amount as they feel I am not deserving of inheritance and other family members are requesting compensation for their time in caring for the elderly individual. I will consult with an attorney but need to better understand what they are able to request and not. Also my mom signed and i.o.u letter after my dad borrowed a large portion of money from his moms account. A letter documenting the amount on dads behalf is signed by my mother. Can they they request repayment of this as well as compensation for the time and money (food, property taxes) spent caring for her?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Your situation is not simple and you really need to consult with an attorney for advice regarding your particular circumstances. If you do not assert your rights in a proper and timely fashion you will lose them.

As a general rule, no, family members are not entitled to be compensated out of a decedent's estate for time spent caring for the decedent while he was alive. In most states that type of work is deemed to have been done out of love and affection and not for hire. The exception is when the work actually was done for hire, in which case they would need to produce a contract signed by the decedent agreeing to pay them, and they would need to prove the authenticity of that contract. If they have a contract, they would also have to produce detailed time and expense records.

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