Many people have heard of the Pittas case from a few years ago in Pennsylvania which held that a nursing home can go after an adult child for the nursing home debt of a parent. However, this result can be avoided.
Prior to the Pittas case, Pennsylvania and numerous other states had a statue or law called a filial responsibility law, which essentially state that children, spouses, and parents can be held responsible for their loved one’s nursing home bill if the person in the home was poor (indigent) and could not pay.
Ultimately, the court in the Pittas case used that statue to hold a child responsible for the nursing home debt of the parent. Although this is alarming, and certainly gives incentive for children to get more actively involved in their parents’ planning, it doesn’t need to be as big of a concern as it might seem, if proper measures are put in place before the situation becomes a crisis.
Creditors can only sue individuals if there is an existing debt that is owed. Appropriate planning ahead of time can assure that there will be no money owed to the nursing home, and therefore no fear of the filial responsibility law rearing its ugly head. Pre-planning and getting actively involved with your loved ones as they age is imperative.
Not only can it help you avoid personal responsibility, but it also can allow your parents to get the care that they deserve in their older years.
If you have questions about this or any estate or elder law matters, consider joining us for one of our educational workshops for our "7 Threats of Estate Planning" or "The Nuts and Bolts of Medicaid" workshop. Click here to save your seat today.