Or, visiting nurse or social worker. People who are paid by the government generally can't accept cash payment in addition to what medicare pays them. My understanding is that it's outright illegal for them to charge and strongly discouraged for the to accept cash gifts for their medicare related services.

Is leaving a small gift via inheritance/will frowned upon or is it considered generally acceptable. I'm asking for people who've done a very good job and I think they deserve a little extra.

Wouldn't be much, a thousand here or there, but would that be more trouble than it's worth for them or are such gifts by inheritance for public workers seen as OK?


  • Hopefully this won't to sound too cynical... If I planned to leave much to a caregiver at my death, I wouldn't tell them in advance for fear of giving them the wrong motivations.
    – James
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 15:23
  • @James I had exactly the same thought. Even thought I trust their work ethic, I thought it would be weird,
    – userLTK
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


It's tricky.

A bequest is a gift and, in essence, it is no different from a gift given while you were alive. You are free to give gifts to whoever you like for whatever reason, or no reason.

However, alive or dead, your largess may cause issues for other people.

The Recipient

Some employers (not just governments) place restrictions on their employees receiving gifts. This may be an outright ban or may be a limit on the value - you don't know what these restrictions are.

The gift may put the person in a difficult position and since, presumably, the intent of the gift was to make them feel good, making them have a legal/ethical dilemma sort of defeats this.

Other Beneficiaries

Clearly the gift you give to the people above would otherwise have gone to someone else. Someone who may feel that the recipient used their trusted position as your doctor/nurse/librarian/lion tamer to place undue influence on you, overtly or covertly.

These beneficiaries may feel this so strongly that they take legal action to have that bequest set aside. If you want to avoid them being successful (or even making the attempt) your will should express clear reasons why you made the gift and demonstrate that the recipient did not in some way coerce the gift, bearing in mind that they have already been paid for the services they provided you and that you are not there to explain yourself.

As an aside, if you plan to leave someone out of a will that would normally be in it, you need good reasons for that too.

Again, given that the purpose of the gift is to bring the recipient joy, having to defend their right to it in court may dilute or eliminate that joy.


Is it legal? Yes.

Is it a good idea? Probably not: share a bottle of whisky with them now when you can both enjoy it.

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