Ask a Financial Planner: Do I Have to Pay for My Parent’s Long Term Care?

The cost of nursing home care can wreck havoc on the financial lives of those without the means to pay. And, to the surprise of many, that financial responsibility could even extend to the children of long term care patients. Just as parents have a responsibility to financially support their children, children may have a responsibility to financially support their indigent parents.

Some states, including Indiana, have “filial responsibility” laws that could be used to require adult children to pay for their parents’ long term care expenses. Although these statutes haven’t been called upon often (if ever in Indiana), with the current state of our economy and the future soundness (or lack of) of Medicaid, more nursing homes are beginning to turn to these laws to pursue payment from the children of patients.

More than ever, entire families need to be involved in planning for the physical and financial care of elderly parents; and it’s always best to prepare these plans well before a crisis occurs. Seek the advice of an elder law attorney, and when possible, pursue long term care insurance (before developing a condition that makes you uninsurable). There’s too much at stake to ignore mom and dad’s financial health.

-       Written by Juli Erhart-Graves, CFP® Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors