Am liable for my father's debts after his money is gone and he is on Medicaid?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 03, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father has early stage Alzheimer's. He wants me to be his durable and medical power of attorney. He currently has assets worth about $250,000. He is in a nursing home.No other family members are involved. Would I be liable for any of his debts after his money is gone and he is on Medicaid? I will basically just be writing the checks to pay for his nursing home and any other related costs from his money. Thank you, Paula

Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for

Paula, the answer to your question about whether you will be liable for your father's debts after he is on Medicaid depends on what state you and your father live in. There are 30 states that have "filial responsibility" laws that require adult children to take care of their parents. In some states, the law applies to grandchildren as well. Not supporting your parent is a crime that can lead to jail time in other states. In these states, creditors can sue the children and go as far as to put liens on their houses. Sometimes, the adult child is not in contact with the parent and still has liability. I live in New Jersey which does not have "filial responsibility". In my state, children are not liable for their parents' debts. You should contact a knowledgeable local resource who can explain to you what laws apply in your state.

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