My partner’s father may become a permanent resident at a nursing home. I have been living on the property, rent-free, but providing much service, for many years, i.e. buying groceries and cooking, cleaning, yard work, lawn mowing, minor repairs, homemaking, companion services and personal assistance, especially when the parents were ill. Now it seems the absent family members feel that since I’ve had a ” roof over my head”, I have been paid enough. The house is extremely humble and in disrepair, the elderly man very unkind and unappreciative, but 90, and needing some help and protection. He would not ever talk about this, or acknowledge my helpfulness. He may or may not come home, but if he does, the level of care will be much increased, and I need to find out where I stand before I continue.

I am so sorry for your situation. Many caregivers face the same situation every day.

I would recommend that you make a detailed list of all the things you have done on a weekly basis. List each item specifically and the amount of time spent on each chore. The more detail you put in the list the better. Also list places you have been on behalf of the individual. For example, grocery shopping – 3 times each week. List the mileage and the time. List everything you can think of now, while it is fresh in your mind.

Then add up the list of hours for the month.

Take the detailed list to a local estate attorney. They will help you to put the documents in the proper format. They will be able to help you determine the value for each hour of time for these services in your area. They will also be able to tell you how many months/years you can go back with your list. The attorney may also deduct the value of the rent in your area. Then the attorney will help you to present the bill to the family.

The time to act is now. Good luck.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and does not and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The law may vary depending on the state in which you reside. It is intended only to give some direction in which to seek assistance.

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