Paying for Mom’s Healthcare? See the rise of Filial Responsibility Enforcement via WSJ Blogs.

By Kelly Greene

Twenty-nine states have “filial support” laws on the books that could be used to go after patient’s families for unpaid long-term-care bills.

We described one case in Pennsylvania, the main state where health-care providers have started using such a law, in last weekend’s Family Value column, “Are You on the Hook for Mom’s Nursing-Home Bill?”

This has become a hot topic for financial planners and others advising Americans, young and old, on healthcare costs for aging parents.

Many estate planners are selling all kinds of asset protection strategies (i.e. forming business entities, creating irrevocable trusts and off-shore trusts, re-titling property in joint-tenancies, etc.).

But since these filial responsibility laws were rarely enforced in the past, attorneys do not really know how well these strategies will hold up in court, in terms of protecting children's assets from their parents' creditors. As a result, attorneys aren't giving too much information, at least not on their web pages/blogs, about exactly what kinds of asset protection strategies they use and/or that work.

They merely alert their readers to the re-emergence of filial responsibility law enforcement, and then invite people to consult them about asset protection strategies, medi-cal planning, and long-term insurance possibilities.

Be careful if you are delving into estate planning and asset protection for this reason as it is truly uncharted territory as to what works and what does not.

Submitted by Jennifer N. Sawday