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Implications of filial responsibility for long term care planning

When doing long term care planning, it is important to remember that parents usually want the best for their children.  Parents may spend their lives working and saving to provide their children with the best education and lifestyle that they can manage. In fact, one aspect of parenting is to ensure that children are not burdened with their parents' financial problems. However, parents often neglect to do long term care planning, which can help prevent adult children from carrying their parents' financial burdens for nursing home care.

While only a handful of states have laws regarding filial responsibility, Pennsylvania is one of them; so that adult children may be held liable. Filial responsibility laws may make adult children financially responsible for their parents' care. Pursuant to Pennsylvania law, parents, children and spouses of an indigent person may be held responsible for caring, maintaining or financially supporting the indigent person.

Though the technicalities can vary by state, nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can use this law to hold adult children financially responsible for any unpaid bills. Though rarely enforced in the past, these filial responsibility laws have been invoked successfully by care facilities in getting children to pay thousands of dollars to care for their aging parents.

The importance of long-term care planning cannot be underscored, especially if this trend continues. Though these discussions may be difficult to have, it is important for families to discuss how to finance the long term care that aging parents may need without draining the resources that the adult children have. An experienced elder law attorney can help families create long-term care plans that can be beneficial for the entire family.

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