Filial support is not just a moral virtue. In many parts of the country and branches of the legal system filial support is a legal imperative.
Filial support laws exist in 29 states as well as Puerto Rico, and have quietly existed on the books for some time. Now, however, these laws are a very real and present concern for the adult children of elderly loved ones?
[Spoiler alert: Neither Kansas nor Missouri is among the 29 states with filial support laws.]
Fortunately, Forbes has provided a crash course regarding filial laws and their potential challenges in an article titled “Who Will Pay For Mom's Or Dad's Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws And Long-Term Care”
Essentially, filial support is the legally-imposed financial responsibility whereby children are responsible for their aging parents. The origins of filial support are found in some pretty old laws and lines of legal reasoning. History aside, consider filial support the flip-side of the legally-imposed financial responsibility parents owe to young children.
Nevertheless, in a modern context with the massive escalation of healthcare costs, some see a dangerous pattern emerging. This is most dramatically evident when it comes to the costs of long-term care. So are you at risk?
These are state laws. However, you might be liable if an elderly loved one resides in one of these states and you do not. Does this have your attention?
Be sure to read the original article and, perhaps, do a little online research yourself. If nothing else, find out which states have filial support laws. Better yet, consult with an experienced elder law attorney.
Note: If there is still time (i.e., your parents are "insurable"), then I highly recommend investigating long-term care insurance to preserve the dignity (and the assets) of your parents should they need such care. If you happen to live in one of the 29 state or Puerto Rico, then you just might be preserving your own assets at the same time!
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: Forbes (February 3, 2014) “Who Will Pay For Mom's Or Dad's Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws And Long-Term Care”