Let’s rap about Filial responsibility laws.
They exist in a lot of states now, so your odds of running into them at some point are pretty good.
The law itself requires you to take care of your indigent parents. Usually, it’s enforced when your parents have no more money left, but they still need nursing home care or some other type of state-funded aid.
Meaning, if mom or dad becomes old, cannot take care of themselves, and needs nursing home care, and is getting money from a state benefit program (e.g. Medicaid), and… the nursing home or the state believes you can afford to pay the bill (which is up to the discretion of the state or nursing home), then you can be sued for the bill.
This actually happened to a poor fella in Pennsylvania. He had to pay for his mom’s nursing home care and then when she got out of the home, she fled back to her home country… the son had to repay the nursing home for all the services his mom used.
More and more of these cases are ending up in court because… state governments are going broke paying for every Tom, Dick, and Harry.
After mom and dad die, some states want their money back. If your parents receive Medicaid benefits, the state generally looks at it like a “loan” of sorts and can attach assets of the estate after death.
There are ways around it but it all requires advanced planning… something lotsa folks just plain don’t want to do.
So… what does this have to do with you? If your mom and dad do not have sufficient savings, perhaps you will be called on to pay for their healthcare. And… if the state decides to enforce its laws, then you have no choice in the matter. They will force it on you.
Is it fair? No.
But… it’s something states are doing now. So… You have a choice: take the risk and try not to think about it until or unless it happens or… convince mom and dad to get life insurance and long-term care coverage.
You can learn more about how life insurance can help them (and you), here: