I Manage My Mother-in-Law’s Finances. Should I Be Paid? [WSJ]

For a number of years, I have been managing my mother-in-law’s finances: investments, taxes, bills, setting up a trust, etc. This involves a great amount of time. My mother-in-law has named her adult children as her beneficiaries. If my wife predeceases my mother-in-law, I won’t benefit from the estate. My question: Am I allowed some/any compensation for my past, current and future efforts managing these affairs? Note: My wife and I are trustees on the trust and co-executors on the will.

I’ll tackle the particulars in a moment. (The short answer: Yes and no.) But there’s a larger issue here, which is the potential financial strain on caregivers of all stripes.

A few numbers: About 1 in 6 Americans currently provide care to someone age 50 or older, according to “Caregiving in the U.S. 2020,” a report published by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP. That equates to 42 million caregivers who are helping older adults. Among this group, more than half (56%) are themselves 50 or older; 20% are 65 or older.

Yes, caregiving frequently involves helping an individual with (as health professionals put it) “activities of daily living,” such as bathing, dressing and eating. Equally important, though, are “instrumental activities of daily living,” or the more complex tasks that allow people to live independently.

In these instances, a caregiver might assist with transportation (say, driving a person to medical appointments), shopping (helping the same person with, say, their grocery trips) or, as in your case, managing a person’s finances.

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