Medicaid Planning and Filial Responsibility Lawsby Deborah Sexton (Deborah Sexton Law Office, PA)
While planning for retirement, many people focus on the money they’ll need to support themselves and their family after they stop working. What few people plan for is the possibility that they will have to pay for their elderly parent’s nursing home expenses. Though not widely reported, about 30 states have laws that allow nursing homes and other extended care facilities to pursue the adult children of someone staying in the care facility. In some states, these laws, known as filial responsibility laws, give extended care facilities the right to sue adult children to recover unpaid bills.
While filial responsibility laws differ significantly between states, and only about 20 states have provisions that allow nursing homes or extended care facilities to sue adult relatives of patients, they provide further incentives for anyone to begin estate planning and extended care or Medicaid planning as soon as possible.
Under Federal law, states can’t pursue family members if a parent is eligible for Medicaid coverage. With a Medicaid plan, elderly parents can both maintain some of their assets and use Medicaid to pay for long-term care expenses without risking the nursing home pursuing their children to pay for expenses.
The states in which filial responsibility laws exist have been reluctant to enforce these laws even though they have been there for decades. However, as medical care costs continue to rise and the recent recession has left fewer people able to pay for extended living costs, we may see a rise in the number of lawsuits resulting from care facilities suing adult children of elderly patients.
Experienced estate planning attorneys Fayetteville AR of the Deborah Sexton Law Office PA offers estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Fayetteville AR. To learn more about these free resources, please visit www.arkansas-estateplanning.com today.