Leaving an Inheritance to a Paid Caregiver in Texas

 Posted on February 14, 2023 in Estate Planning

Fort Worth, TX Estate Planning Lawyer for Caregiver BeneficiariesIf you rely on a paid caregiver to help you with daily activities, such as dressing and bathing, there is a good chance that you will develop a strong relationship with the person who cares for you, even if they are not a part of your family. Over the course of months and years, the relationship you have with your caregiver may actually become even closer than the relationships you have with your blood-related family members. With this in mind, you may want to include considerations for your caregiver in your estate plan.

Under Texas law, you have the right to choose anyone you wish as beneficiary in a will or trust, including a non-family caregiver. However, there are some concerns that should be taken into account before making this decision. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you understand some of these concerns and how to keep them from becoming problems down the road.

Concerns When Leaving an Inheritance to a Non-Family Caregiver

When choosing to leave an inheritance to a paid, non-family caregiver, there are several concerns that should be taken into account. These include but are not limited to:

  • Strained relationships: If the caregiver is not a family member, they may not have the same emotional investment in the family and could be perceived as being an "outsider." This could lead to tension and conflict within the family.

  • Being certain about your decision: Nobody can tell you who you should and should not leave an inheritance to; these choices are yours alone. You can decide to include your caregiver as a named beneficiary, but you need to make sure that you are making this decision on your own. If your caregiver encouraged you to do so, the relevant portion of your estate plan may be deemed unenforceable.

  • Challenges to the validity of the will: When a named beneficiary — such as a caregiver — is not a family member, there is a greater risk that the will might be challenged in court by other heirs. In such cases, there are often allegations that the caregiver exerted undue influence over the testator (the person who made the will) in order to inherit at least some of their estate.

  • Tax considerations: Certain tax advantages may be available to heirs, such as your spouse and children, that are not available to non-family beneficiaries. This could affect how much of the intended inheritance that a non-family caregiver ultimately receives.

How to Avoid Claims of Undue Influence

There are several steps that can be taken in order to avoid claims of undue influence when leaving an inheritance to a non-family caregiver. The first thing you should do is to enlist the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer when creating your will or trust. This will help ensure that all legal requirements are met and that there is no ambiguity in the language of the will.

It will also be helpful to include a statement in your estate plan that explicitly states that you were not influenced by any person in making your decisions about your assets. You should sign and date this statement in front of witnesses.

Finally, it is a good idea to keep detailed records about all conversations and interactions with your family and all of your intended beneficiaries during the estate planning process. These records can help prove that there was no coercion or undue influence exerted by any party involved. The mere existence of notes such as these could help prevent a challenge to your estate plan by other beneficiaries.

Work With a Tarrant County Wills and Trusts Attorney

If you wish to reward your long-time caregiver by including them as a beneficiary in your estate plan, contact an experienced Fort Worth estate planning lawyer. Call 817-349-7330 for a free consultation at Gonzalez Law, PLLC to discuss your situation and your estate planning wishes. We will do everything we can to ensure that your rights and best interests are fully protected.




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