Watching my parents struggle with money, with each other, with kids, with everything…that was a source of stress in my life and I thought it was gone. I was wrong.
Dad passed away in 2015 with an insolvent estate and that’s all the more I’ll say about him and his situation. De mortuis nil nisi bene.
Mom is still alive, but she isn’t around. When people ask questions about my parents, I simply reply with “no longer with us” to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.
When Revanche shared on Twitter and her blog the struggles she had with her dad, to which Donna Freedman replied with a note about filial law, I took note since the situation sounded all too familiar.
Filial law is this stupid, archaic law in Pennsylvania (and other places) that dates back hundreds of years and it holds biological children responsible for an indigent parent’s nursing home bills. Yikes.
Nursing homes are ridiculously expensive. Indigent parents are ridiculously expensive. The combination? I shudder to think that we could be responsible for someone else’s mistakes.
Before you scroll to the comments section to jump on this, my feelings are warranted.
My mother was (is?) a mess. Kids were never supposed to be in the cards. Mistakes were made. Marriage was hasty and ultimately ended in divorce. We were abandoned to the care of our father and grandparents.
Years later, I find out that my mother stole my identity and forged my signature. Imagine my surprise when I pulled my credit reports for the first time. It was easy for her to steal my identity because she had my SSN — I mean, she was my mother. Ain’t that a kick in the head?
I could regale you with even more horrendous stories than this, but I won’t because “when you dig up the past, all you get is dirty.” I heard that in a movie once and it made sense, so I gloss over much of what transpired.
As you might imagine, I was mad, angry, hurt, etc…but after going through therapy and distancing myself from the past, I was able to accept what happened and move on. I also learned about ways to protect myself, like fraud alerts, freezing my credit report, and taking advantage of the free annual credit reports offered by the big 3.
(Here’s the FTC’s guide for child identity theft. Hope this helps someone!)
Growing up in the situation I did, people say things like, “but you turned out to be so normal.” Yeah. Enough said.
Anyway, my mother is 56 years old. I don’t know anything about her, her personal life, or her health, but let’s hope she’s married, healthy, and decades away from living in a nursing home. If she’s married, her husband would be responsible for her bills before her kids (at least according to an article I read). If it wasn’t clear before, I don’t think we should be held responsible for my mother.
The funny thing about kids is that they don’t have a choice as to whether or not they want to be brought into the world, yet here they are.
I imagine many parents make a conscious effort when they create humans that they will take care of them, but when they don’t care for their kids, when they neglect, abuse, and abandon their kids, why the heck would the government expect kids to support their parents?!
Since reading into filial law, I realized that financial independence/early retirement is more important than ever. We’re in good health and working regularly, so we’re treating this year and next as “squirrels getting ready for winter.” Growth is our theme for 2018, after all.