The situation is often stressful for everyone. Parents become in need of care and their children cannot provide this care for professional or occupational reasons. The only option is often a care home. However, the existing long-term care insurance only covers part of the costs. If the assets and the pension of the person in need of care are not sufficient, up to now the children have often been asked to pay by the authorities within the framework of parental maintenance. It is not uncommon for authorities to make excessive demands on descendants in this regard.
In addition to the already mental burden, this often represents a heavy financial burden for the families concerned. In 2020, this legal situation has now changed.
Attorney and specialist lawyer for family law Peter Axel Hummelmann already advised numerous families in this difficult situation and could support these in the already problematic situation to ensure the well-being of parents and to defend own financial existence against excessive demands of authorities.
Table of Contents
1. What does the parent maintenance?
The German Civil Code regulates in § 1601 "Relatives in a straight line are obliged to provide each other with maintenance". On the one hand, this affects parents for their children. Conversely, however, also the children for their parents.
According to this, children are obliged to support their parents within their own means in the event that need arises. This includes, in particular, the costs of care not covered by long-term care insurance.
For in-laws, although spouses do not have to pay directly, their income is included in the calculation of individual family needs by the social welfare agency.
2. What does it cost to be placed in a nursing home?
This cannot be said in general terms. An average value of the cost of a nursing home is estimated at ca. 3.000 euros per month stated. However, this refers to strongly fluctuating prices, depending on the location and equipment of the old people's home as well as the extent of the necessary care.
The share of the costs of a senior residence, which is taken over by the care insurance, depends on the care stage. Ultimately, however, long-term care insurance covers only a fraction of the costs incurred by the nursing home.
3. Are the parents' income and assets taken into account?
Yes, parents' income and assets are considered first. Only when this is no longer sufficient, the social welfare office comes into play. Thus, the parents' income and assets must first be almost completely depleted.
If the social welfare office grants social assistance to your parents, it will check whether it can obtain reimbursement from them by way of parental support.
4. When do children have to pay child support for parents?
According to the legal situation that has now been in force since 2020, children must pay maintenance for their parents if they become needy and the total gross income of the children is 100.000 euros annually exceeds. In addition to income from work, other income, for example from capital investments or renting and leasing, is also taken into account here.
Wealthy children will also benefit from the new legal situation. The state assumes that children whose income exceeds the limit of 100.000 Euro, do not have the corresponding assets either. This assumption can be refuted, but in practice this only happens in absolutely exceptional cases.
5. How high is the deductible for parental support?
If your income exceeds the mark of gross 100.000 euros per year, you will be required to pay parental maintenance.
The deductible is an amount that is taken into account when calculating child support. It is deducted from the net income relevant to maintenance. The deductible for single persons is currently 2.000 euros from the monthly net income. In the case of married children, the spouse is subject to a further deductible of 1.Add 600 euros per month. This results in a deductible for married persons of 3.600 euros.
6. How to calculate parental support?
First, check whether the income exceeds the threshold of 100.000 euros exceeds. If this is the case, all deductible expenses are subtracted from their gross income, as in the payroll tax calculation, to determine net income.
Their deductible is now deducted from this net income. Of this amount, you must provide 50% for parental support to cover nursing home costs.
Example: You are single and have a monthly income of 5.000 euros. From this now the deductible of 2.000 Euro deducted. This leaves 3.000 euros. You now have to pay 50% of this for child support. This corresponds to 1.500 euros per month.
Especially in this point the authorities often make mistakes. The calculation is very complex and depends on many factors. You should therefore seek the support of expert legal counsel when checking this calculation.
7. Are there exceptions to parental maintenance?
There are exceptions to the obligation to pay parental maintenance only in blatant exceptional cases. This is the case if the parent in question has committed serious misconduct towards them.
This is not sufficient if the parent has already broken off contact with the child over years or decades and has disinherited the child in the will except for the compulsory portion. Also in this case the parental maintenance is due.
However, a case in which the parents of the child concerned grossly failed to meet their obligation to support the child themselves at the time was considered sufficient by the case law.
Whether such an exceptional case exists is difficult to judge and depends on many factors, as the examples also show. Let an experienced lawyer advise you on the assessment of your individual situation.
8. What if there are several children?
If there are several children, they are liable according to. § 1606 para. 3 BGB according to their ability to pay parental maintenance. Accordingly, the distribution is not made on the basis of equal shares, but on the basis of a quota according to the ability to pay.
In a first step, it is checked whether all children are liable for maintenance, i.e. whether the income limit of 100.exceed 000 euros. In a second step, a quota-based division is made for these children based on the amount of the respective income.
Children who are already sorted out in the first step because they are not considered capable of paying are not taken into account any further. If a child is not able to pay, the other children are liable.
Example:The required parental maintenance amounts to 3.000 euros. A has an adjusted income of 1.000 Euro, B from 2.000 and C has income below 100.000 euros gross per year.
According to this example, only two out of three children are capable of performing. Thus also only these, after their achievement possibilities for the maintenance are consulted.
The quota is calculated using the following formula: Quota = U x E / G
U = required maintenance; E = income relevant for maintenance; G = total existing income relevant for maintenance
For A: 3.000 (U) x 1.000 € / 3.000 (G) = 1.000
For B 3.000 x 2.000 / 3.000 = 2.000
9. Conclusion on parental maintenance
- Relatives in a straight line are obliged to support the child. If the parents become needy, the children must pay this maintenance.
- Accommodation in a nursing home is expensive. The costs cannot be quantified as a lump sum, since they depend on many factors.
- The income and assets of the parents are taken into account for parental maintenance. Only if this is nearly exhausted, a maintenance obligation occurs.
- According to the new legal situation, children only have to pay parental maintenance if their total annual gross income exceeds 100.000 Euro exceeds.
- The deductible is deducted from the monthly net income relevant for maintenance. For single persons it amounts to 2.000 and for married persons 3.600 Euro per month.
- When calculating parental maintenance, the net monthly income is calculated. The deductible is deducted from this. Of the remaining part, 50% is due as parental maintenance.
- Exceptions to the obligation to pay parental maintenance only exist in blatant exceptional situations, for example, if the parents themselves have grossly violated their obligation to pay maintenance.
- If there are several children, only those who exceed the income limit of 100 euros are liable.000 euros gross per year according to a quota calculated on the basis of the respective income.
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