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Requiring Adult Children to Pay for Aging Parents
- September 22nd, 2014
Did you know you could be responsible for your parents' unpaid bills? Twenty-eight states currently have laws making adult children responsible for their parents if their parents can't afford to take care of themselves. While these laws are rarely enforced, there has been speculation that states may begin dusting them off as a way to save on Medicaid expenses.
These laws, called filial responsibility laws, obligate adult children to provide necessities like food, clothing, housing, and medical attention for their indigent parents. According to the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative research organization, 21 states allow a civil court action to obtain financial support or cost recovery, 12 states impose criminal penalties on children who do not support their parents, and three states allow both civil and criminal actions. (For a list of the states and citations to state statutes, click here. Note that Idaho's and New Hampshire's statutes have since been repealed.)
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm PC
Bill founded The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. in 1994. Bill limits his practice to the areas of estate planning and administration, incapacity planning, Medicaid, asset protection planning, and elder law. He is one of (15) fifteen attorneys practicing in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, ce...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Judith Mtinick is well known for acting as a guardian, conservator, trustee or agent on behalf of clients or by court appointment. This experience gives her a wide perspective and extensive practical knowledge that she uses when advising clients in drafting their planning documents. Her experience, as a court appointed...
Generally, most states do not require children to provide care if they do not have the ability to pay. States vary on what factors they consider when determining whether an adult child has the ability to pay. Children may also not be required to support their parents if the parents abandoned them or did not support them.
The passage of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 made it more difficult to qualify for Medicaid, which means there may be more elderly individuals in nursing homes with no ability to pay for care. In response, nursing homes may use the filial responsibility laws as a way to get care paid for. For more information, click here.
For a discussion of filial responsibility laws in the New York Times's "New Old Age" blog, click here.
Last Modified: 09/22/2014