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Filial Responsibility?!?!?!?

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  • Filial Responsibility?!?!?!?

    Until yesterday I was unaware of this legal issue but after I read it I can't believe that such laws even exist.

     

    For those who do not know, apparently there are 29 states that have a filial law in the books which states that if a parent is considered indigent and receiving long term care, the nursing home/facility can come after the adult children for what is owed.   This can work even if the child is in a state that is not part of the 29 filial states but the parent is in one.

    There was a legal case in Pennsylvania that the court found the adult child responsible for $93,000 when the mother did not pay her financial responsibilities.

     

    Definitely ridiculous that I would be on the hook for something because my mother didn't get her financial affairs in order and lived a high life while I saved.

     

    Curious on other people's thoughts on this.

  • #2
    that doesn't pass the whiff test to me. sounds like the kind of thing we'd hear about more often if true.

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    • #3
      I think it is on the books but rarely enforced.

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      • #4
        It's a real thing.

        It's just that usually medicaid is picking up this tab.

        Pretty scary though... presumably if this picked up much steam, most states would rewrite their laws.

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        • #5
          Whiff test or not, this is 100% true, but as Kamban said, what is on the books and what is enforced are two separate things.

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          • #6




            It’s a real thing.

            It’s just that usually medicaid is picking up this tab.

            Pretty scary though… presumably if this picked up much steam, most states would rewrite their laws.
            Click to expand...


            Definitely scary.

            I think there is still possibility of being on the hook for a large sum even with Medicaid.  As far as I understand, Medicaid will pick up the tab for the first 100 days only.   Also if the facility charges more than it receives from Medicaid it can go after the child for the difference.

            The only way a child can get out of it under the letter of the law is if they could prove they were abandoned as a minor (forgot the definition but it was for a certain number of years) or they are financially unable to pay for the care (i.e their own assets or debt amount could not handle the bill).

            Just another way that society punishes high income earners/savers by enforcing us to be safety net for grown adults that have lived their life differently.

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            • #7
              Yup. I've mentioned this in a post I wrote about financially ill prepared parents. And you mentioned that case in PA. I think this is something to possibly worry about as things get worse. I think long term care and bankrupt parents will become more common ...

              https://missbonniemd.com/financially-ill-prepared-parents/

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              • #8
                There was a crazy article about these companies taking guardianship of people and their assets just the other day. Just because you dont hear about it doesnt mean much. Like civil asset forfeiture, it can go on decades before nary a peep is heard.

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                • #9
                  I have been aware of this for 15 years when my mom went into a nursing home. I like to be thorough in researching issues I am involved with.

                  I would add that PA is ground central for enforcing filial laws. Under the PA filial law, precedence has been established that nursing homes have standing to sue. They are really the driving force behind PA usage which dates about 25 years. The vast majority of other states only allow a state/local agency or the indigent parent standing to sue. There has really been no contagion to other states other than to NJ which has been far more reluctant to enforce than PA.

                  In many states, unless fraud (hiding of parental assets) is involved, the filial laws are not routinely enforced. In fact, the last I heard many states have never enforced their filial laws. Thankfully, my state is one of them.

                  In the other states that rarely have enforced filial laws, it has been by state/local agency against affluent children when their parents apply for indigent benefits. So with the exception of forum members who live in PA or maybe NJ, you have very little reason to worry.

                  I haven't heard any news that State Medicaid agencies has been using filial laws. However, they have been getting very aggressive with the 5-year look back,  With budget constraints, who knows what the future may bring. Maybe they will start considering going after child beneficiaries of so called Medicaid proof trusts for their filial responsibility.

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                  • #10
                    States with laws

                    https://www.forbes.com/sites/northwesternmutual/2014/02/03/who-will-pay-for-moms-or-dads-nursing-home-bill-filial-support-laws-and-long-term-care/#591baa986e1d

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                    • #11




                      They should get aggressive with the look back period. It isn’t appropriate to allow people to give their heirs big bucks so that the tax payers flip their bill.

                      Except in cases where money was removed, I’m not seeing this fly.
                      Click to expand...


                      I wish that was the case but according to the PA ruling:

                       

                      The nursing home then sued her adult son, John Pittas, for payment. This case was significant because, unlike the previous rulings in other jurisdictions, the court made no finding that John had engaged in any fraudulent transfers to divert or hide his mother’s assets.

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                      • #12
                        Related though not directly filial law.  I recall ten to fifteen years ago, there was a congresswoman from Illinois (Land of crooked politicians) whereby the mother of the congresswoman was in a medicaid nursing home.  Not a big deal, yet in the year or two prior to entering the home, the congresswoman daughter had managed to transfer substantially all the mother's remaining assets to herself (small bungalow on the south side, some cash and jewerly) for the express purpose of 'proving' to Medicare that she didn't have any assets.

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                        • #13
                          While the laws are in place, I would not panic over one ruling that was over 5 years ago. In the court case that found the adult child liable, the parent moved (or fled) to Greece to get out of paying her bill. Something sounds fishy with the whole story. I've been keeping a look out for other cases and haven't seen any recently.

                          That said, I live in PA and could be impacted by these laws should something change.

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                          • #14




                            While the laws are in place, I would not panic over one ruling that was over 5 years ago. In the court case that found the adult child liable, the parent moved (or fled) to Greece to get out of paying her bill. Something sounds fishy with the whole story. I’ve been keeping a look out for other cases and haven’t seen any recently.

                            That said, I live in PA and could be impacted by these laws should something change.
                            Click to expand...


                            Yeah, last case I found showed that PA Supreme Court denied the writ, but nothing ever told us if he actually had to come out of pocket or not.  From what I understand, nursing facility went straight after him before submitting anything to medicaid, and this case was decided essentially on a technicality.  Seemed like more of a show than anything.

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                            • #15
                              There was not just one ruling in PA. The original ruling goes back to the early '90s. The most recent ruling is just that, the recent one. The precedent has been long been established. What you don't see are the many cases of nursing homes that go after people, who under advice of counsel pay when the nursing home comes calling.

                              There is still very little cause for concern for most of the country, but if I lived in PA I wouldn't be so complacent.

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