An obscure South Dakota law can force adult children to pay the cost of long-term care for their parents if the elder family members cannot pay on their own.
The civil law has been on the books in South Dakota since 1939, and is rarely used. But as the cost of long-term care skyrockets and nursing facilities increasingly face financial challenges, elder law experts theorize the law may be used more often when nursing home bills go unpaid.
South Dakota is one of 29 U.S. states that have the adult child payment requirement, commonly known as a “filial law” that addresses the responsibility of one person or a group of people to pay for the housing, feeding and care of family members, often parents.
The laws allow nursing home operators or owners to sue the children of patients who do not pay and makes no reference to whether the families have close relationships or whether the adult child received any financial assets of the parent.
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