California Filial Responsibility Law

When an elderly parent becomes ill and can no longer care for themselves, they may need to get care from a nursing home or long-term care facility. However, these care facilities can be very expensive, even with the aid of Medicare or other insurance plans. This may cause seniors to use up their entire life's savings to pay for the care. So who pays when the money runs out? That's where filial responsibility laws come into play.

While they may rarely be enforced, they do exist in 29 states, including California. And under these laws a care facility or other health care provider can make the adult children of indigent parents responsible for paying debts incurred for their care. For example, a recent case in Pennsylvania, Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America v. Pittas, the court ruled that an adult son is liable for $93,000 in medical bills that was created by the skilled nursing care and treatment received by his mother over a 6 month period. And the only burden of proof that the facility had to meet was proving that the son had the means to pay the amount in question. Despite the fact the woman still had a husband, 2 other children, and a pending Medicare application.

This case highlights the importance of creating a long term care plan as part of your estate litigation. Please consult with a professional estate litigation Attorney who can help prevent your children from being held liable for thousands of dollars of your health care costs.

*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.

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