*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Must children help support parents who have a savings account
In the lessons of the last several weeks you taught us that there is an obligation upon the children to help support their parents if they cannot afford it otherwise? My question is regarding if the parents have a large sum of money saved away in a 401(k) or savings account, or own real estate, but currently do not make enough income to cover all their expenses. Must us children pay from our own pocket to help support our parents, or can we tell our parents to use the money they have in their savings account, or to sell their real estate or stocks? Some of us are ourselves tight for cash to support our own families, and if we would still be required to support them despite the above, can we use our Maaser money to do so.
Being that your parents have a large sum of money which they can cash in to help support themselves [aside for selling their house which they are not required to do], the children are not obligated to help support them in order so they don’t have to cash-in their assets. Certainly, since the parents are not defined as paupers, the children may not use charity money or Maaser money if they choose to do help support their parents regardless. Nonetheless, in all these cases, if the children nevertheless choose to support his parents with his own money despite his lack of obligation to do so, then he certainly fulfills the Mitzvah of honoring his parents.
In this regard, we follow the parents’ total assets. Thus, all parents who have saving accounts which they can use to support themselves, are considered to be able to afford their own support and cannot demand the children support them in order so they can keep their savings. Likewise, if the parent is owed money but does not choose to collect at this time, then his children are not obligated to support him and he is rather to cash in on the debts that he is owed. Likewise, if the parent owns real estate aside for the home which he lives, or investment stocks which he can sell, then the children are not obligated to support them. Nonetheless, in all these cases, if the son nevertheless chooses to support his parents despite his lack of obligation to do so, then he certainly fulfills the Mitzvah of honoring his parents. If the parent owns their house and does not have ability to support themselves without selling the house, then they are not obligated to sell their house and rather the children are obligated to support them.
Sources: See Michaber 253:1; Shut Maharil 107; Rashba 4:56; Sefer Chassidim 582; Kesef Mishneh Mamrim 6:7; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger Kama 68; Chelek Levi Y.D. 105; Shevet Halevi 2:111-3; Pesakim Uteshuvos 240:19; Encyclopedia Talmudit ibid p. 398 footnote 372-376