Blogs & Comment

Adult children liable for parental support

In most jurisdictions in Canada, adult children are legally liable for caring for their parents. Generally, adult children are liable to pay parental supportif their parent supported them financially when they were minors.
As quoted from page 300 of Wealth Planning Strategies for Canadians 2010 , written by tax and estate lawyer Christine Van Cauwenberghe.
I have to confess I was somewhat surprised to learn of the above. I had no idea that parents could sue their children for support in Canada. The odds of it happening, of course, are very low because most parents have provided for their old age. Besides, most would not take their own children to court. But not all parents have been responsible and have harmonious relationships with their children, so the risk of such legal actions cannot be ruled out.
If you foresee financial problems in the future for your parents, Ms. Van Cauwenberghe advises speaking to them about planning for their retirement. You might also talk to them about long-term care insurance and even pay the premiums yourself, she says, in order to avoid large lump-sum payments in the future.
For some more interesting, and potentially ruinous, quirks of family law, see my Dec. 3 column on marriage and personal finances. As Ms. Van Cauwenberghe notes, Several jurisdictions have unique rules which can result in a division of property [following a marital breakdown] that can be very different than what the parties expected.