It is very common in Notaries to hear from some elderly people that their wish is that their heir be the person who cares for them during the last stage of their life, and also, it is common to hear from a child of older people, that it is he specifically and not the rest of the siblings who should be the heir, since he is the only one who is fulfilling the duty of caring for the elderly parents and completing the needs for their subsistence with money.
Behind these two ideas are hidden human needs, worthy of consideration, but whose satisfactory resolution, if there is one, should not take place exclusively through the institution of the heir.
I believe that the two problems must be differentiated separately, but noting in advance that the solutions, in my opinion, must be articulated within the family circle, especially when it comes to parents with several children, as a family agreement and that the real solution is only partially covered by inheritance law.
The case of the elderly person who is looking for a person to care for them through the designation of heir, has enormous complications:
a) first, due to the problems that can occur for the execution of the will, because even if it is very well written, there will always be aspects subject to interpretation, which will cause several people to argue for having the status of heir, which will cause the will to end in an expensive lawsuit and to eat up the inheritance;
b) And in second place, because even if a person is designated as heir, and with all his good will, he strives in the care of the elderly person, he has the risk that the will will be changed, and that his future compensation will be without effect.
The recourse to the succession agreement
Perhaps the most appropriate formula for dealing with these situations is through the succession agreements, a very frequent form of succession in rural Catalonia, in which commitments of family solidarity were established and linked to them, the hereu.
Currently, through succession agreements, the obligation of the designated heir to care for the older person can be articulated, so that its breach is cause for revocation of the agreement, and in parallel, the heir who is linked to the care of the person, knows that the agreement cannot be modified without their consent, unless there is cause for revocation. In addition, these agreements can have several grantors so that they are very suitable to give shape to what we have called family agreement before.
Other possible solutions
When a person demands to be named heir, because he is assuming some expenses, he has the risk of the doubts that will always weigh on him for having influenced the drafting of a certain will. In this way it is possible to gain an inheritance, but also to lose a family.
For this reason, as an alternative to the problem we are posing, it may be convenient to document the relationship you have with the person you are caring for, using various formulas such as a reverse mortgage, alimony or annuity contract, or at least, to be able to demonstrate all the expenses that the care of the person causes to be able to claim them from those who are heirs, which in most cases will be himself together with the other siblings.
Thus, the person who has advanced the expenses will be able to reimburse them at the time of the death of the elderly person, but neither will they cause any harm to other people nor will they raise doubts about the goodness of their actions.