Filial responsibility is where children are liable for their elderly parent’s medical costs where the parents do not qualify for Medicare and do not have money to pay the bills. The purpose of the filial responsibility is to let medical provider have a place to collect their bills.

Some states have filial responsibility laws that require children to pay their elderly parents’ medical bills. Although these laws are rarely used in legal actions, they have been enforced in some cases.

Are There Cases Where a Child Was Responsible?

Yes, there are incidents where a child was liable for his parent’s medical costs. Though rare, a child may be liable when all of the following criteria are met:

  • The state has a filial responsibility law.
  • The parent does not qualify for Medicare.
  • The parent does not have money to pay the bills.
  • The child has money.
  • The health care provider sues the child.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

If you as the child or the parent are worried about the child paying the parent’s medical bill, you should consult with an family lawyer. The attorney can help you draft a will, trust, or another piece of document to relieve the child of the responsibility. Or in the alternative, he will help you obtain peace of mind some other way.