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Can I get paid for the care I gave my aunt before her death?

Posted on Tue Oct 20, 2015, on Probate and Estate Administration

From our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement

Most Recently Updated November, 2023.

“Before she died, my aunt lived with me in Burlington County, New Jersey, for several years. My wife and I took her to the doctor and cared for her when she became bedridden. She died without a will, and all her assets are being divided between my cousins. They never helped with her care. This is not fair. Can I make the estate pay me for my time?”

New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement

New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement

Under New Jersey rules, your Aunt could have made a will and given you the entire estate or had a will that said you would receive some of her estate to reflect your work. Because she did not make a will, the New Jersey intestate rule divides her assets between all her children equally. Before the assets are separated, all her creditors must be paid. This includes her funeral expenses and final taxes.

Had she agreed with you and your wife that you would be paid for the care you provided her, you would also be a creditor. From what you described, it sounds like you had no such agreement. Because family members regularly give each other care, this care is considered a gift unless you can prove otherwise. Your cousins could agree to give you more of the estate to reflect your work, but that would be up to them.

A Fix for New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement.

Had she contacted us, we could have drafted an agreement where she documented an intent to repay you for your time and expense.  An agreement, in writing, can be enforced just like any other debt.  It also can be used to demonstrate the truth to skeptical family members.

More Probate Questions?

New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement is only part of the overall probate process. There is so much more! If you wish to learn more, please read my more detailed article, The Probate Process All You Need to Know.

In Conclusion: New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement

I hope that this article was helpful in explaining New Jersey Elder Care Reimbursement.

If this article and the linked data don’t answer your questions, please call us.  Probate is What We Do!  At any given time we may have over 250 probate cases active in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania.  Our goal is to make the process as easy as possible.

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