Beware of Pennsylvania’s Parental Responsibility Law

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann, a Freehold, NJ Elder Care Attorney

Several times I am questioned whether a child has a legal obligation to support their parents particularly if the parents require long term care. I have routinely answered the question in the negative because New Jersey does not have any existing policies or procedures that compel an adult emancipated child to pay the nursing home/assisted living or other long term care expenses of their parent. While there are laws on the books which seemingly impose such an obligation, in fact, they have never been enforced and are not a real concern.

However, in the last several years, I have become aware of several cases decided in Pennsylvania which have imposed financial responsibility upon the adult children of an aging parent for the costs of long term care. One recent decision Eori vs. Eori is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that long term care costs cannot only bankrupt an aging individual but also their adult children particularly who have their own expenses as well as retirement and other recurring needs.

The purpose of this blog is to alert anyone and everyone who either has a parent residing in Pennsylvania or contemplates moving to Pennsylvania that such a move can result in an unforeseen and significant financial liability.

Filial responsibility law (translated means children responsible for the expenses of their indigent parents) is a troubling and profound issue.   I will continue to monitor other cases similar to this in the event that the scope of these decisions seems to be increasing.

To discuss your elder care matter, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at fniemann@hnlawfirm.com. Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.