Parental maintenance: when are children liable for their parents in the event of care?

Parental maintenance When children have to be financially liable for their parents

If the parents cannot make ends meet in old age, children have to step in. It becomes particularly expensive when an old people’s or nursing home has to be paid for. When children be liable must – Interview with a specialist lawyer.

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WirtschaftsWoche: Ms. Elsässer, if her father or mother come to an old people’s or nursing home, their pension is often no longer sufficient to cover the costs. When do their children have to step in and pay?
Katja Alsatian: In short, parents need and children must be financially able to bear the costs. More specifically, parents are in need when their current income and wealth are insufficient to support themselves. And children are efficient when they are financially able to bear the uncovered costs. The social welfare agency often pays uncovered home costs first and then checks whether children can pay the maintenance. However, the calculations of social assistance providers are often incorrect.

Katja Elsässer, specialist lawyer for family law, in an interview with WirtschaftsWoche.

When does the state assume that the children can pay?
According to a decision by the Federal Court of Justice, nobody should have to accept a noticeable and permanent reduction in their living conditions through parental support. An exception applies if children live above their means. To keep up to calculate, to put it simply, you take the children’s net income and deduct certain expenses. These expenses include, for example, loan installments for the owner-occupied property, occupational expenses or maintenance for one’s own offspring.

How much do children need for their parents transfer?
According to a decision by the Federal Court of Justice, the child who is subject to maintenance and whose income is subject to compulsory pension insurance may save five percent of their gross income as a pension. If parts of the income are above the contribution ceiling of the pension insurance, an additional 20 percent of these parts of the income may be spent on old-age provision. The self-employed may spend 25 percent of their gross income on old-age provision

1. What is the distribution of parental support among siblings??

"If parents are in need of care, the public sector first supports them with home costs. However, the social welfare offices get these amounts back, at least in part, from dependent children", explains Margit Winkler from the Generationsberatung Institute. Parents’ maintenance is not divided equally among several siblings. As a basis, everyone assumes the share that they can afford according to wealth and income. The maximum amount corresponds to the actual social assistance expenditure.

A tip: All siblings should sit down to see if the nursing costs can be covered together. This prevents conflicts between siblings and in the case of home care by everyone involved, the costs may even be lower.

Source: Institut Generationenberatung (IGB), as of June 2015

2. What exceptions are there to be exempt from parental support??

There are clear financial regulations to be exempt from parental support. Because everyone has the right to the so-called deductible. This is the sum that the maintenance person is entitled to. If this limit is undershot, the person concerned is released from maintenance.

But personal reasons such as severe family fates can also lead to exclusion from the maintenance claim. However, these circumstances are not known at the maintenance control center, so the objections must be presented objectively and comprehensibly. The clearer the subject is communicated by the person concerned, the easier it is for the relevant body to check the maintenance claim and determine whether it still exists.


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