You may be tempted to treat a caregiver as a “private contractor” in order to avoid the humbug of tax withholding and buying the right insurance policies. You would do so at your peril. The IRS and the state will take the position that the caregiver is an  employee, that you are an employer and that all of the legal obligations that attach to those labels apply to your situation.

IRS Publication 926 gives outstanding guidance about employment issues. One of the points raised is the need to verify and document that your prospective caregiver can legally work in the US. On that subject, you can find all of the information and forms you will need on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website ( Or, it may make sense to avoid becoming an employer by working with an agency, which will be the caregiver’s employer and will deal with all of the legalities. What you pay for this kind of service may make the extra cost a bargain. Note that even if you work with an agency that carries worker’s compensation insurance, you should still ask your personal insurance professional whether there is anything else you should do to protect yourself through your homeowner’s and umbrella policies.

Ask your trusted advisors for guidance and check out resources. You will be glad you did.

SCOTT MAKUAKANE, Counselor at Law
Focusing exclusively on estate planning and trust law.
808-587-8227 |