More adult children are being legally required to pay for their parents’ long-term care, according to a prominent senior law specialist.

Thirty states have laws obligating adults to pay for their parents’ long-term treatment; a Pennsylvania court, for example, recently ordered an adult to pay for a parent’s nursing home stay, Bernard Krooks, a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, said today at a seminar sponsored by the Practising Law Institute.

Nursing homes have become increasingly aggressive in going after those who have the power of attorney or other control over their parents’ funds, Krooks said.

If a child controls the money and doesn’t use it for their parents’ well being, nursing homes can sue him or her for misappropriation of funds, he added.

“Nursing homes are winning those cases left and right,” he said.

Long-term care insurance has lost much of its appeal because carriers have raised premiums as policyholders have left the workforce, leaving them with less income to pay for the policies as retirees, Krooks said.

Some rates have gone up by 80 percent, he added.

“[Long-term care insurance] is a bad deal for a lot of consumers. It’s worse for companies,” Krooks said, adding that eight or nine carriers offer the policies, down from about 20 in recent years.

One of the reasons long-term care rates have gone up is fewer people are dropping their policies than expected, he said. Among life insurance policyholders, for example, 10 percent to 15 percent of people drop their policies and the money that was being set aside for their benefits can be used to pay expenses at the companies.

Long-term care premiums can be 40 percent greater for women than men, he said. Carriers have proven to regulators that the gender bias is justified because in a marriage, typically the man will become severely disabled first but won’t ask for a payout because his wife will be able to take care of him. But when the man dies and the wife is ill, she is more likely to receive benefits, Krooks said.