Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, February 7, 2014

Should You Worry About Filial Support Laws?


Depending on your parent’s state of residence, you could be on the hook for the cost of their recent nursing home stay.

29 states have filial responsibility laws that hold children legally responsible for their parents’ care under certain circumstances.  These statutes have been largely ignored, but several recent court decisions may indicate some renewed interest in them.

Court decisions in South Dakota and Pennsylvania opened the door to using filial support statutes to recover medical expenses from children with “unclean hands.”  However, in the 2012 decision in Health Care & Retirement Corporation v. Pittas, a nursing home was allowed to obtain payment for a $93,000 bill from a son even though he had engaged in no misconduct.  Time will tell if this case will encourage other states to begin enforcing their dormant filial support laws. 

See Northwestern Mutual Voice, Who Will Pay for Mom’s Or Dad’s Nursing Home Bill? Filial Support Laws and Long-Term Care, Forbes, Feb. 3, 2014.


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