Now that nursing homes have successfully litigated these cases, the floodgate will now begin and I expect Medicaid to follow suit in most cases over $75,000.
Boston, MA (PRWEB) August 21, 2012
In the majority of states throughout the United States, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and California, a judge can sentence prison time to an adult child with resources who chooses not pay for their parents’ care. While these laws have been around, they were never enforced. States are now leveraging them to attack children with assets, but without Irrevocable Trust asset protection planning, in order to collect on their parent's health care and nursing home bills.
Prison is still unlikely, but parents' could easily cost their child their life savings. 29 states are now demanding children pay if their parents become unable to afford it. “States are trying to find ways to save money and with Medicaid becoming an exploding part of their budgets, they are now using unenforced Falial laws to collect from adult children. It is going to become much more common,” explains Rocco Beatrice, Managing Director of Estate Street Partners. "It is not going to stop there, however. Now that they have successfully litigated these cases, the floodgate will now open and I expect Medicaid to follow suit in most cases over $75,000."
How This Affects Children with Aging Parents
Nursing home care can cost $100,000 a year. If mom is in a nursing home for 4 years with assets of 55,000 and she didn't do Medicaid Asset Protection planning, she will have spent everything in a few months. After she passes the children will now be hit with a bill from the nursing home for $345,000. The bill is ignored because, even though asset protection planning was implemented incorrectly, the child believes the nursing home can’t come after assets for a parent’s bills, right? The nursing home and Medicaid take the child to court under a filial responsibility law, making all of their financial statements a public court record for the world to see and ultimately winning a judgment for $345,000. Don't think it can happen? It just did.
Dozens of cases are setting a new precedent on this issue. John Pittas of Pennsylvania didn’t think it was his problem either, but the PA Appeals Court disagreed. They ruled that his mother’s nursing home could go after John for the $93,000 bill. Additionally, all of Mr. Pittas’ financial information is a public record due to this case. How does one avoid this from happening? Stopping care when mom runs out of money and losing entire retirement savings are not realistic options for most.
Mr. Pittas had the money to pay, but defendant’s that won cases after being attacked by their state had insufficient assets to pay; reinforcing this fact: states' expect the child to pay if they can. “The best way to avoid having to foot the bill is to plan ahead,” urges Mr. Beatrice. “Only about half of adults have done estate planning, and 80% of those plans won’t help. One must understand the difference between a revocable vs. irrevocable trust; asset protection is not gained with a revocable living trust. They only avoid probate; that doesn’t help here. The threat of having to pay for your parents care can be easily alleviated by simply using the right type of high-quality trust; all trusts are not all the same.”
“With so many threats to your savings, including these ‘filial responsibility laws’, typical estate planning offers very little protection. With a expert-crafted Irrevocable Trust, one can enjoy their savings without losing sleep over what could happen,” clarifies Mr. Beatrice.
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Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 273, § 20
Cal. Penal Code § 270(c)
Health Care & Retirement Corporation of America, D/B/A/ Liberty Nursing & Rehabilitation Center v. Pittas, No. 536 EDA 2011
Swoap v. Superior Ct. of Sacramento Co., 516 P.2d 840 (Cal. 1973)