NewsTo you, I bequeath my enormous medical bills
To you, I bequeath my enormous medical bills

To you, I bequeath my enormous medical bills

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 12.38.35 PMRaising kids is an expensive business, especially if they don’t move out of home until they’re sprouting grey hairs themselves.

But payback for these KIPPERS (Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings) could be on the cards if Australia follows the lead of Germany, where children can be held liable for their parents’ healthcare if their parents can’t cover the costs.

It’s one way to address the financial pressures of an ageing population, but a recent court case is testing the limits of the law.

The Financial Times reported the case of a German man who was “so estranged from his father that the two scarcely spoke for two decades”.

The son, however, might be forced to foot the bill for his father’s medical expenses, which amounted to €9000, or nearly AUD$1400, before his death in 2012.

At the Federal Court of Justice hearing, the Bremen city government’s lawyer argued the father – who had paid maintenance following his divorce in 1971 – wasn’t guilty of any serious misconduct that would end his son’s duty of care.

The son, whose inheritance had been restricted by his father to the legal minimum, disagreed.

A judgment on the German case is due in February but it might be too early to start relying on your KIPPERS here in Australia for care.

Slater and Gordon associate in commercial litigation Jessica Latimer said there was no equivalent law in Australia making children responsible for their aged parents.

“If an elderly person ran short of money for their medical costs and didn’t have private health insurance, the public health system provides a safety net,” Ms Latimer said.

Specific payments for health costs are also available through Centrelink, and a Health Care Card provides discounts on some medical costs.

What do you think? Should children be held responsible for their parents’ medical bills? How else should we deal with the increasing ratio of retirees to working age people?

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