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When Are Adult Children Responsible for their Parents’ Medical Bills?

November 17, 2018 in Uncategorized | MARTIN WREN, P.C. | LEAVE A COMMENT

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Medical debt is rapidly becoming one of the most burdensome financial challenges that Americans grapple with on a daily basis. As a result, it is understandable that many adults worry about the toll that their parents’ medical bills will take both on their parents and potentially upon themselves. There are circumstances under which adult children may be held financially accountable for their parents’ medical bills. However, there are also often legal tools that can be used to minimize the potential impact that a parent’s medical bills may have on an adult son or daughter.

It is a relief to know that under most circumstances, adult children are not generally held responsible for medical debts related to parental care. However, it is important to understand the ways in which you and your parents are financially entangled so that you can be prepared in the event that a collection agency attempts to hold you accountable. If you co-own property or financial accounts with your parents, you will need to talk to an attorney about ways in which you may be able to shield your personal assets from collections. Otherwise, your personal assets may be considered linked to your parents’ assets and debts. When this occurs, your assets will remain vulnerable to collections unless you take steps to protect them.

If you cannot protect your personal assets from collectors and your parents’ medical bills are overwhelming, you may want to consider bankruptcy. This legal action will impact your credit for a number of years, but it may also help you and your parents make a fresh financial start. An attorney will be able to explain whether this legal option makes sense in your situation.

However, avoiding bankruptcy is usually a good idea when it is possible to do so. Therefore, you may wish to speak with an attorney about negotiating with any medical providers and/or collections agencies in the event that your parents’ medical bills are impacting your personal finances. An experienced attorney will be best placed to explore any available legal options you may have and to advise you about any areas of the law that may be relevant to you and your family at this time.

Legal Assistance Is Available

If you have questions about how your aging parents’ financial situation may impact their lives and/or yours, please consider speaking with an experienced attorney. Ensuring that your parents’ estate plans are complete and up-to-date is often a beneficial first step down the road to stabilizing a challenging financial situation.

Your parents’ estate plan may already provide a mechanism for paying their medical bills. But even if their medical care has not yet been provided for, understanding the protections and instructions they have put in place in regards to their care will help you to better understand what steps to take next. In addition, speaking with a will lawyer Sacramento trusts about your parents’ estate plan and medical bills will help to ensure that your options moving forward are informed ones.

 


 

Thank you to our friends and contributors at the Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning medical bills.

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