You have to pay for parents long term care?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by TwoCatDoctors, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Below is an article by Clark Howard on HLN's Evening Express, then another article about it from the Wall Street Journal. It appears that 29 states have laws that allow indigent parents' unpaid long-term care bills to be placed as debts upon the non-indigent children. It is actively done in Pennsylvania and has been done a few times in South Dakota.

    It means that suddenly, you can find yourself being held responsible for your parents long-term care bills, even if you didn't co-sign for them, even if you ended your relationship with them because they were toxic, etc.

    Clark Howard recommends seeing an Elder Law Attorney (not a General Law Attorney) if you are in one of the 29 states, just to cover yourself, as the economic environment is getting pretty tight for places offering long-term care.

    Find out if you are in one of the 29 states:

    [This Message was Edited on 06/26/2012]
  2. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    That someone hasn't questioned the constitutionality of such laws. Perhaps they have. The Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear. Perhaps since the court thinks corporations are people, the states could bill the companies where the old people worked or the ones where their children now work.

    Love, Mikie
  3. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    No one seemed to know about these laws, so they may not have been publicized and passed at a time when the public and media was distracted with something else.

    I believe these laws are not well thought out, favor the government/state medical providers like Medicaid to a fault, and even Clark Howard was unaware of them for a long time.

    Clark Howard had been giving advice for so long that you would not be responsible for parents' debt unless you were the executor for the estate and had to pay debts out of the estate for your parents. Or unless you co-signed a loan with your parents. His advice has now changed.

    It must be a tremendous shock for adult children to find out these laws exist, and even more of a shock for the adult children that have broken with their parents long ago and have had no contact with them.

    Would below be a future scenario and inject adult children into elderly parents' lives:

    If an elderly parent in Pennsylvania began spending money foolishly or even giving it away right now (to Cousin Sue or Aunt Joan) and risked becoming indigent, does an adult child move in the courts to stop the spending, try to recover the spending and take over finances, all based upon a law which in the future would force the child to be financially responsible for the indigent parents' long term care?

    [This Message was Edited on 06/26/2012]
  4. spacee

    spacee Member

    My huz is a CPA and frequently in Florida, elderly parents will transfer (give)
    all their assets to their heirs and go on Medicaid to pay for nursing homes
    and assisted living. My doc has had patients do this.

    Huz says in Florida the assets have to be given at least 3 years prior to need
    such a facility.

    He isn't a lawyer but there is a lawyer/cpa where he works.

    Just passing on what he says.

  5. jole

    jole Member

    In some states it's even more than 3 years prior. I have to say my brother tried his darndest to have our parents 'give' their money to us for just that reason. They refused. As far as they were concerned, that was cheating. But there are very few people with enough pride to believe they need to pay for what they get these days.

    However, it's just simply wrong IMO for children to have to pay for parents debts...or for children over 21. Adults need to be responsible. Simply put, if one truly cannot afford care, I still think it should be provided through medicare. No one deserves to be old and homeless. We're all better than that, even if it means we all help out in some way.
  6. wildflowers23

    wildflowers23 Member

    I live in PA and never had a problem with any of that when my family died or my Mother in law. Are you sure that info is up to date? This was 2009

    And yes I had a seasoned elder care ATTY tells us we were not responsible for any of their debts.
  7. spacee

    spacee Member

    Maybe it differs state to state.

    I remember my grandmother getting SSI (for ppl in the poverty level) when
    she had two wealthy sons. I thought that was not right.

    In stead of going to an assisted living, she lived with my mother the last
    6 years of her life. Though mother had to quit her job and most ppl need
    everyone working who can.

    Just another rambling!

  8. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    The two articles (one by Clark Howard of CNN) are both from June 2012). The one stating the actual filial responsibilty states is from 2006. So the information is correct and current.

    Some states have chosen not to pursue children for indigent parent long term care bills. There may be various reasons why they did not proceed against you in 2009 and perhaps the state was solvent enough to not proceed when indigent adults had long term care. Count yourself lucky.

    Now that the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (that is the actual name) has been upheld by the Supreme Court, it may impact long-term care for the indigent. But today on either CNN or HLN they said that it is up to the individual states whether they opt in or out of Medicaid, and it may put Medicaid to the test. I'm not referring to Medicare, but Medicaid.
  9. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The gov has decided not to upgrade our Medicaid. Medicaid is a program whose cost is shared between the states and the fed. govt. The feds want the states to increase benefits but some states have decided not to go for it because of increased costs. The court has ruled that the feds cannot withhold the regular Medicaid funds if a state opts out. I don't know what this will entail.

    Love, Mikie
  10. erussell

    erussell Member

    Paying for your parents' long term care bill is one of the things that people avoid nowadays. If you're living in one of the 29 states mentioned above, then you're in deep financial trouble. Why? The cost of long term care is no laughing matter these days. As a matter of fact, it would cost you over $80,000 in a year for a semi-private room in a nursing home and about $43,000 in a year for an assisted living facility. Paying for any of these facilities out-the-pocket is impossible and the best way to cover the cost is through long term care insurance. Some would argue that there are other options like federal programs and life insurance. They can provide coverage but not comprehensive as private insurance.

    If you want to avoid paying for your parents' long term care, then you should encourage them to purchase long term care policy early. The earlier they purchase, the more affordable their rates would be. It's more economical to purchase a policy compared to using your lifetime savings to pay for long term care.
  11. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Long-Term Health Care insurance is a good idea but it's not cheap. There are a number of different types of policies and I urge anyone looking to buy such a policy to perform a lot of due diligence before signing up. Problem is that, unless one buys a policy early and is in good health, it is very, very expensive.

    I told my kids that if I ever have to go to "the home," they had better stick me in one here in FL where the kids aren't held responsible. Of course, as soon as some of our legislators find out about these laws in other states, FL is likely to follow suit.

    BTW, getting married in old age can be a really bad deal financially. If one spouse goes into a home, both are held responsible. The remaining spouse can stay in the home but it will eventually go to the state to help pay the bills. Also, the remaining spouse can only keep so much money and everything else goes to the care of the one in the home.

    Love, Mikie