Working as an elder caretaker can be a very rewarding job. At the same time, it can be filled with a number of risks. Sometimes as an elder caretaker, you are asked to take care of valuable possessions and sensitive information. In this role, you are functioning as a trustee. This means that if the family or another interested party feels that you are handling the property inappropriately, you could be called to give an account.
While there is no way to entirely reduce the risk that someone will claim you have been mismanaging an elder’s funds or stealing valuable possessions. However, by maintaining proper records and taking certain precautions, you can minimize that risk.
Keep an Accurate List of Everything You Manage
Whether you serve as an elder caretaker for one person or multiples, you need to maintain an accurate list of everything you manage. It is not technically inventory in the legal sense of the word, but the same principles of inventory management apply. You need to make sure that you keep track of what you are responsible for, the condition that you received it in, and any other details that will demonstrate the adequacy of your care.
Asset Panda can be set up to handle this quickly and easily. You will want to create a separate inventory list for your elder caretaking than for your home possessions. Once that’s done, make sure that you include all of the necessary details. Be sure to note any efforts you have made to maintain the property as well as where it is located. If you are handling multiple people’s possessions, be sure to input who the property belongs to. Effective inventory management is all about knowing what you are taking care of and where it can be found. This doesn’t take long to do. The Asset Panda software for inventory will let you get this taken care of in a matter of hours.
Do Not Serve as a Witness
A common request that the elderly have of their caretakers is that their caretakers will serve as witnesses for their wills. While this may seem like a harmless request, don’t accept it. It will only lead to complications on down the road because states refuse to accept witnesses who might be interested in the contents of the will or how it will be distributed. Caretakers are often considered to have an interest in the will.
If the person you are caring for wants to know if you will witness the will, politely refuse and explain that it could be considered a conflict of interests. You can then offer to go and find someone who can serve as a witness in your place. This will help to prevent you from being accused of manipulating the situation. It will also help protect you if the person you care for decides to remember you in her will.
Do Not Keep Their Possessions with Yours
In many areas of the business world, the intermingling of personal possessions with business possessions can result in tremendous liability. Technically, it is not illegal when you are working with as an elder caretaker. However, it can look bad, and those appearances can give family members enough cause to question your handling of the belongings. They can use the fact that you treated the possession as if it was yours as potential evidence that you stole it or mismanaged it. Don’t risk this. It’s not worth the lawsuit and the stress that will almost inevitably ensue. Even if you are completely innocent, the initial proceedings of the lawsuit could last anywhere from a matter of weeks to months.