If your parents live in one of 29 states or Puerto Rico that has filial responsibility laws on the books, you could potentially be held legally responsible for their care under certain circumstances, such as when your parents are ailing and without sufficient financial resources to take care of themselves. Until recently, these statutes have been largely ignored. However, several recent court decisions indicate that there might be renewed interest in enforcing them.
Filial support is not just a moral virtue. In many parts of the country and branches of the legal system filial support is a legal imperative. Filial support laws exist in 29 states as well as Puerto Rico, and have quietly existed on the books for some time. Now, however, these laws are a very real and present concern for the adult children of elderly loved ones.
Fortunately, Forbes has provided a crash course regarding filial laws and their potential challenges in an article titled “Who Will Pay For Mom's Or Dad's Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws And Long-Term Care.”
Essentially, filial support is the legally-imposed financial responsibility whereby children are responsible for their aging parents. The origins of filial support are found in some pretty old laws and lines of legal reasoning. History aside, consider filial support the flip-side of the legally-imposed financial responsibility parents owe to young children.
Nevertheless, in a modern context with the massive escalation of healthcare costs, some see a dangerous pattern emerging. This is most dramatically evident when it comes to the costs of long-term care. So are you at risk?
These are state laws. However, you might be liable if an elderly loved one resides in one of these states and you do not. Does this have your attention?
Be sure to read the original article and, perhaps, do a little online research yourself. If nothing else, find out which states have filial support laws. Better yet, consult with an experienced elder law attorney.
Reference: Forbes (February 3, 2014) “Who Will Pay For Mom's Or Dad's Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws And Long-Term Care”