Before we look at the responsibility that an adult child may have for a parent’s nursing home bills, we should provide some general information about long-term care.
Medicare is a government health insurance program that you are contributing into when you pay FICA or self-employment taxes. You accumulate retirement credits while you are paying these taxes. Using the figures that are in place for 2014, you get one credit for every $1200 that you earn.
Once you have accumulated 40 retirement credits, you will qualify for Medicare at the age of 65 under currently existing laws.
If you are going to qualify for Medicare, you may be confident about your ability to handle future medical expenses. However, you should be aware of the fact that Medicare does not pay for long-term care. This care is very expensive, and it can consume everything that you intended to leave to your loved ones if you have to pay out-of-pocket.
Elder law attorneys help people who are concerned about long-term care costs. If you want to brace yourself for these expenses, you may want to aim toward Medicaid eligibility.
This is a government health insurance program that will pay for long-term care, but it is only available to people who can prove that they have significant financial need. To qualify, people typically give assets to their loved ones before they apply.
However, you must act in advance in an informed manner, because there is a look-back. If you give away assets within 60 months of applying, your application will be denied until you wait out a penalty.
Responsibility of Adult Children
Now that we have provided the necessary background information, we can look at the question that serves as the title of this post. In most cases, a child would not be held responsible for a parent’s nursing home bills, but it all depends on the circumstances.
If you sign a contract and fail to do something that you agreed to do, you could be held liable. This happened to the daughter of a Connecticut nursing home resident a couple of years ago. The court found that the daughter did not follow through on her contractual obligations with regard to the facilitation of Medicaid eligibility.
There is also the matter of filial responsibility laws. These laws require an adult child to take care of an indigent parent. A Pennsylvania man was held liable for a parent’s nursing home bills in 2012, and the filial responsibility laws of that state were cited by the court.
We practice in New York, and there are no filial responsibility laws here.
Elder Law Consultation
When you are planning ahead for retirement, you should certainly consider long-term care costs. If you would like to discuss everything with a licensed attorney, send us a message through this link to schedule a free consultation: Smithtown NY Elder Law Attorney.
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