Are adult children liable for parents that are on Medi-cal in nursing homes?

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under CA filial responsibility laws.

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Oh my gosh, imagine the domino effect.... the grandchildren could have their savings totally wiped out because they had to pay for their parents nursing home cost because their parents were wiped out paying for their own parents, the grand-children's grandparents.

But wait a minute, we have Medicaid to which all of us hard working people had contributed via payroll taxes during our time out in the work force. Thus, we did help to pay for our parent's care, and everyone else's parent's care.
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Actually, the mother in PA did not die. She moved to Greece prior to the application being approved. Therefore the nursing home went unpaid in their entirety. In most cases, the NH only appears to go after the adult children when they have an illegal transfer of the parental assets. However, in the PA case, there was no finding of wrong doing on the part of the adult child. This is a very scary precedent. I worry about the slippery slope. If this law begins to grow legs and NHs start using it more often, I fear that parents will become responsible for poor financial choices of their adult children as well. Where do we draw the line? If your adult child takes out a mortgage and defaults, does the parent get the bill? Very scary precedent indeed. Basically, if there is no wrong doing, the NH can impact the life savings and future security of an adult child to secure payment for the care of a parent.
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Pennsylvania recently forced one son to cover his mother's nursing home bills, a whopping $93,000 even though the son had siblings. The court and nursing home decided the son had the means, so they went after him, and only him even though the nursing home was supposed to have filed for Medicaid and it was in the process of being approved. The mother died before Medicaid was approved, so the son was "stuck" with the bill. I don't know all the details, as that has not been released to the public, but apparently the son signed his mother into the facility so that's the reason MERP (Medicaid Expenses Recovery Program) went only after him. So, please, be very careful what you sign.

Also, if you have Durable Power of Attorney, this gets sticky as you are legally your mother's legal representative, so beware. Make sure you take the nursing home contract to a lawyer to be sure that you won't be held accountable.

MERP has the right to go after the deceased assets/estate. If your mother has signed her home/assets/estate over to anyone in the last five years (it's five years in most states, though some are shorter and others are longer), then whoever received those assets can be held liable to pay for your mother's nursing home expenses until that amount has been used up or until your mother passes. This is why it's critical to have an Elder Care Attorney on board before you do or sign anything.

Here is the official Medi-Cal website for California residents. It's very detailed and quite large and takes a long time to read and understand everything on it. But, IT'S A MUST DO FOR ALL CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS WITH LIVING PARENTS!

http://www.medi-cal.ca.gov/
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Nice job giving us all this info!
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HERE IS A LIST OF ALL STATES WITH FILIAL RESPONSIBILITY LAWS and keep in mind, most ARE brushing them off and giving them a polish while states that don't have them ARE looking into enacting such laws.
The New Old Age
By JANE GROSS

States With Filial Responsibility Laws
States with filial responsibility laws are: Alaska, Arkansas,
California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana,
Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota,
Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.

To look up the actual language of the statutes, here are the
citations:

1. Alaska Stat. 25.20.030, 47.25.230 (Michie 2000)

2. Arkansas Code Ann. 20-47-106 (Michie 1991)

3. California Fam. Code 4400, 4401, 4403, 4410-4414 (West 1994),
California Penal Code 270c (West 1999), California Welf. & Inst.
Code 12350 (West Supp. 2001)

4. Connecticut Gen. Stat. Ann. 46b-215, 53-304 (West Supp. 2001)

5. Delaware Code Ann. tit. 13, 503 (1999)

6. Georgia Code Ann. 36-12-3 (2000)

7. Idaho Code 32-1002 (Michie 1996)

8. Indiana Code Ann. 31-16-17-1 to 31-16-17-7 (West 1997); Indiana
Code Ann. 35-46-1-7 (West 1998)

9. Iowa Code Ann. 252.1, 252.2, 252.5, 252.6, 252.13 (West 2000)
10. Kentucky Rev. Stat. Ann. 530.050 (Banks-Baldwin 1999)

11. Louisiana Rev. Stat. Ann. 4731 (West 1998)

12. Maryland Code Ann., Fam. Law 13-101, 13-102, 13-103, 13-109
(1999)

13. Massachusetts Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 273, 20 (West 1990)

14. Mississippi Code Ann. 43-31-25 (2000)

15. Montana Code Ann. 40-6-214, 40-6-301 (2000)

16. Nevada Rev. Stat. Ann. 428.070 (Michie 2000);
Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. 439B.310 (Michie 2000)

17. New Hampshire Rev. Stat. Ann. 167:2 (1994)

18. New Jersey Stat. Ann. 44:4-100 to 44:4-102, 44:1-139 to 44:1-
141 (West 1993)

19. North Carolina Gen. Stat. 14-326.1 (1999)

20. North Dakota Cent. Code 14-09-10 (1997)

21. Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2919.21 (Anderson 1999)

22. Oregon Rev. Stat. 109.010 (1990)

23. 62 Pennsylvania Cons. Stat. 1973 (1996)

24. Rhode Island Gen. Laws 15-10-1 to 15-10-7 (2000); R.I. Gen.
Laws 40-5-13 to 40-5-18 (1997)

25. South Dakota Codified Laws 25-7-28 (Michie 1999)

26. Tennessee Code Ann. 71-5-115 (1995), Tenn. Code Ann. 71-5-
103 (Supp. 2000)
27. Utah Code Ann. 17-14-2 (1999)

28. Vermont Stat. Ann. tit. 15, 202-03 (1989)

29. Virginia Code Ann. 20-88 (Michie 2000)

30. West Virginia Code 9-5-9 (1998).

State laws vary. owever, law student Shannon Edelstone, in her
award-winning essay (cited below), studied all of the state laws and
found that most agree that children have a duty to provide
necessities for parents who cannot do so for themselves. The states'
legislation also gives guidelines to the courts, telling judges to use a
number of factors when weighing the adult child's ability to pay
against the indigent parent's needs. Judges, accordingly, have
considered such variables as the adult child's financing of their
child's college education, as well as his/her personal needs for
savings and retirement.


Sources: Filial Responsibility: Can the Legal Duty to Support Our
Parents Be Effectively Enforced? by Shannon Frank Edelstone,
appearing in the Fall 2002 issue of the American Bar Association's
Family Law Quarterly, 36 Fam. L.Q. 501 (2002). Lexic.com.
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Some elders sign their houses over to their kids and remain as "life tenants". When they die and the nursing home has unpaid bills, the NH will go after the assets by suing the children who got the house, sold it and kept the money rather than help pay for their parent's care.
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This is really important for adult children to find out all the facts about. I was extremely stressed when I though I might have to pay my mother's nursing home bill. I still don't know if they could have made me pay it. Medicaid did kick in but her bill was adding up fast before I knew if medicaid would cover. Get an elder lawyer! It's worth the money.
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Have to tread carefully here ... I'm not sure EXACTLY the question you're asking ... and even as I write that, I realize that even if I knew exactly the question you're asking, I still wouldn't be able to answer it. :-) But my point is that YOU need to know exactly what question you're asking.

If you mean, can the nursing home charge you for Medi-cal costs if the state does not pay or approve your parent's Medi-cal application after your parent is already residing in the NH? From what I read on this board, I believe the answer is "It depends ... be very careful about what you sign and how you sign it when you handle the paperwork for your parent's admission to the NH in the first place ... don't sign for any personal responsibility (be very careful to be sure that you are NOT doing so, in fact) ... and so on. Also, be very proactive about managing and driving your parent's Medi-cal application; do not just leave this to the NH itself, no matter how much they assure you they will "take care of it." There are excellent threads on this topic on this board. JeanneGibbs posted a link to a good articles on this subject.

If you mean, can the state come back and charge you, the adult child, for the money it pays your parent's nursing home in Medi-Cal payments ... if you ALSO live in California ... AND the state decides that you have sufficient "means" to cover these costs ... AND you were not abandoned, neglected, or abused by the parent in question ...

... then I BELIEVE the answer (I live in CA as well) is TECHNICALLY ... LEGALLY ... yes.

But that doesn't mean that it does or will.

From what I have read on this subject, in California to date, as in many states, this law has not been enforced, for a variety of reasons. Not that this gives me or other adult children with limited assets and income of their own very much peace of mind. The terrifying aspect of "filial responsibility laws" for many of us who live in states that have these insane laws on their books is that even when our governments have not traditionally enforced these laws, they refuse to get rid of them ... which means that they are holding them in reserve against some fiscal eventuality. It is difficult to imagine that a cash-strapped state with a filial responsibility law already on its books (like a bullet already loaded in the chamber) would not at least CONSIDER starting to try to enforce it as a way of dealing with depleted coffers and anemic revenues.

That being said, enforcement of such a law would be WILDLY unpopular, and the political blowback would be significant. Also, California is WAY behind on implementing a number of other (federally required!) Medicaid reforms ... so my guess is that those would probably be in line to be implemented (in terms of having all the bureaucratic enforcement mechanisms in place) first, before filial responsibility laws. But that's completely a guess on my part (and probably some wishful thinking!).

Finally, if your parent is in an NH in a filial responsibility state, but you do not live in a filial responsibility state, my understanding is that your parent's state will not be able to enforce its laws to recover against you.

You can find lists of which states have FR laws and which don't on the Web ... in case you have options in your family about where to plan for a parent's (or your own) long-term care.
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