Temecula Elder Lawyers answer: Are Adult Children Required to Pay for Aging Parents’ Care?

Temecula Elder Lawyers explain what your responsibilities may be regarding paying your parent’s unpaid long-term care bills.

Did you know you could be responsible for your parents’ unpaid bills? More than half of all states currently have laws making adult children financially responsible for their parents, including their long-term care costs. 

Filial responsibility laws obligate adult children to provide necessities like food, clothing, housing, and medical attention for their parents who cannot afford to take care of themselves. States may allow a civil court action to obtain financial support or cost recovery, impose criminal penalties on children who do not support their parents or allow both civil and criminal actions. 

So, does California have filial responsibility laws? 

Yes, it does, and here is what the California law says.

Temecula Elder Lawyers explain California Welfare and Institution Code 12350.

No relative shall be held legally liable to support or to contribute to the support of any applicant for or recipient of aid under this chapter. No relative shall be held liable to defray in whole or in part the cost of any medical care or hospital care or other service rendered to the recipient pursuant to any provision of this code if he is an applicant for or a recipient of aid under this chapter at the time such medical care or hospital care or other service is rendered.

Notwithstanding Sections 3910, 4400, and 4401 of the Family Code, or Section 270c of the Penal Code, or any other provision of this code, no demand shall be made upon any relative to support or contribute toward the support of any applicant for or recipient of aid under this chapter. No county or city and county or officer or employee thereof shall threaten any such relative with any legal action against him by or on behalf of the county or city and county or with any penalty whatsoever.

But what if the parent was receiving Medi-Cal benefits?

California’s Medi-Cal applicants and beneficiaries are often confused about their rights regarding Medi-Cal and are particularly concerned that the State will “take” their homes or other assets after they die if they received Medi-Cal benefits, and who may be responsible for any unpaid debts. However there is hope; our attorneys can create an estate plan that allows you to keep your assets, AND qualify for Medi-Cal! This allows you to qualify without spending everything or giving it away, and it prevents the state from seeking recovery once you have passed away.

While in most instances adult children are not held responsible for their parent’s long-term care bills under these laws, they may have to pay a nursing home in other circumstances. Our trust allows this to be avoided in all long-term care circumstances.

It is an exceedingly difficult legal process to understand and be able to implement a Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Avoidance Plan, and sometimes there is confusion on what obligations you may or not have.

If you are interested in implementing a Medi-Cal Estate Recovery Avoidance Plan speak to our Temecula Elder Lawyers or estate planning attorneys. To schedule an appointment at our Temecula office or one of our other offices located throughout the state of California, contact us at  (800) 244-8814

If you have any further questions about asset protection planning and strategies to shield your wealth, or if you’d like to have your current asset protection plan reviewed to make sure it still meets your needs, please contact us at our California asset protection office at 800-244-8814 to set up a consultation.

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