Imagine this scenario:
You're struggling to pay your mortgage.
You're trying to help your kids get through college.
This can't happen, right? Wrong.
Thirty states, including Massachusetts, have seldom-enforced “filial responsibility” laws, requiring children to pay for the need of their indigent parents. The wonder is that these suits don't happen more often. It's a particularly frightening thought that persons in their 60s who are still trying to save for their own retirement needs while trying to help their underemployed children may be sued to pay for the care of a parent who has outlived her money.
One thing that children can do to both protect themselves and their parents is to get Mom and Dad to sit down with an elder law attorney and carefully review how their assets are set up, and to make a plan for when to apply for Medicaid coverage for the nursing home. If Mom and Dad are still insurable, buying them a long-term care insurance policy may be insurance for your own assets. But it all starts with a frank discussion within the family about how health care will be paid for and who will pay for it.