Long Term Care – Are the Children Responsible?

In the 17th century English law required that children support their parents when they couldn’t support themselves. There are 29 states in the U.S. that have filial responsibility laws making adult children liable for long term care debt of their parents. This can come up if the parents have gone through their savings, which can happen quickly when paying for long term care. The law is on the books but rarely enforced.

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Long term care and subsequent expenses come up more as people are living longer and having more health care needs. People who are in long term care for any length of time usually can’t pay for the cost of being there. The filial support laws are a potential tool to try to recoup costs for long term care when the individual has insufficient funds to pay.

It may become more common for nursing homes to go after children for unpaid expenses through filial support laws. Talk to your lawyer and financial advisor. Discuss the applicability of Medicaid and long term care insurance for you and your family.