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Inheriting debt

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Inheriting debt

I got into a discussion with a family member about "inheriting debt" recently. I always thought that unless you were a joint or co-signer, they couldn't come after you, say, for your parent's debt. But after doing some research, it seems that 30 states say they can come after you if your parent's estate fails to satisfy a MEDICAL debt:

 

https://www.medicalalertadvice.com/articles/does-state-law-require-you-to-support-your-aging-parent/

 

https://money.cnn.com/2014/06/19/pf/inherited-debt-adult-children/

 

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/broke-parents-medical-debts/

 

They are called "filiable responsibility" statutes. I was actually kind of suprised by this. Imagine if you are estranged from your parents and you get a $100,000 bill after they pass away?!? One of the websites said that the laws are generally not enforced, but tell that to this guy:

 

https://abcnews.go.com/Business/pennsylvania-son-stuck-moms-93000-nursing-home-bill/story?id=1640580...

 

In that last link, the parent had left (fled, in my opinion) the country. But still, what if that adult child was estranged from the fleeing parent?!

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Message 1 of 15
14 REPLIES 14
Super Contributor

Re: Inheriting debt

I'm not surprised. You're expected to care for your parents and children and there are laws to make sure you do. I mean, if you can be forced to pay child support after donating sperm to a clinic...just saying, not surprised.








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Message 2 of 15
Moderator

Re: Inheriting debt

Absolute fraud on the part of PA, the parent is still alive, the son did not sign the papers for nursing home admission. I would never pay and leave the US.

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Message 3 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Inheriting debt

PA is the worst re: filial responsibility laws and I live in fear that my estranged parent will one day move there.
And yes, my heinie would be out of this country before I paid that debt.




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Message 4 of 15
Senior Contributor

Re: Inheriting debt


@gdale6 wrote:

Absolute fraud on the part of PA, the parent is still alive, the son did not sign the papers for nursing home admission. I would never pay and leave the US.


Well yes I would never pay but I'd just move from PA to say . . . a place like Arizona - I checked and no filial support laws here, and I doubt if a PA state court's order based on a PA state law would be enforceable in a state with no filial support laws. But yes, borderline fraud. By federal law (signed by President Reagan, btw) an emergency medical facility, such as a hospital or EMT ambulance service, cannot refuse to provide care based on ability to pay. But a nursing home facility is under no such obligation. They no doubt looked at things and figured if all else fails they could make the son pay. 

 

And that PA law seems to be one of the strongest: "Pennsylvania's statute makes certain family members liable to "care for and maintain or financially assist" certain "indigent" members of the family". Care for your children is correctly a legal obligation. Care for your parents and other family members should only be a moral obligation. My younger sister is completely irresponsible with personal finances and I've loaned given her thousands of dollars over the years to bail her out of crisis after crisis, until a couple years ago I finally said "Enough, no more!". I guess if I lived in PA the courts could tell me "Nope, you don't get to say Enough". 


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Message 5 of 15
Moderator Emeritus

Re: Inheriting debt

@OmarR  great news and certainly a "day spoiler" ... sure did not know this! GRR ... Smiley Mad

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Message 6 of 15
Frequent Contributor

Re: Inheriting debt


@Dinosaur wrote:

@OmarR  great news and certainly a "day spoiler" ... sure did not know this! GRR ... Smiley Mad


I know, huh?

 

Coming from someone who will never co-sign or have an AU on my accounts, I was suprised.

 

It's also an eye-opener from a "parent point of view".  In terminal cases, or say, DNR life-support decisions, would you change your decision knowing that your children could possibly be paying for each day that the end is being delayed?

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Message 7 of 15
Moderator Emeritus

Re: Inheriting debt

@OmarR  you pose a very tough question? Never thought of it until you broached the subject!

In my case, I did do all of the legal documents that would provide direction to my Personal Representatives.

Tried to be fairly complete in the health area so as to not prolong the end. Personal Reps were totally comfortable with it and filed the same with the medical providers also.

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Message 8 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Inheriting debt

I can understand if a parent has a small amount owing for various things, or even a Mortgage. But the high Medical Costs, especially in this day and age when so many have terminal condition that lasts a few years. How could anyone hope to pay these amounts back? 



Message 9 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Inheriting debt

Thanks for this story. My mother is 81 years old and lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia. She has a heart condition as well as type 1 diabetes and cholesterol problems. My brother and sister also have homes in the area.

Boy, did I ever step out of the garden!
Message 10 of 15
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