Written family care agreements: What’s involved and what can go wrong?
Litigation over failed family agreements is increasing, with much litigation relating to a verbal arrangement that is set up by the parties involved. While written family care agreements might not always be thought of in this situation, they can be relevant in instances where adult children are living with their parents, or just their mum or dad.
HopgoodGanim Partner Brian Herd is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts in the areas of elder law, retirement, disability and aged care. In this article, we feature an adapted extract from Brian’s book, Avoiding the ageing parent trap, with insights about written family care agreements and how a lawyer can help.
Just getting advice on and understanding the issues that need to be addressed in, an actual and real-life document called an agreement, can have a number of beneficial effects:
Shared living within families can come in all shapes and sizes and on all sorts of terms and conditions. Essentially, they can involve:
Inherently, these agreements should not be discouraged. In a lot of cases, they are helpful and of real benefit to the parent for all the reasons mentioned above. They can also provide a sense of security and reassurance to a child to know that they now have the ability to oversee their parent’s care and welfare. It can be an antidote to the sense of ‘releasing the hounds’ guilt that can invariably imbue the ‘putting my parent into aged care’ scenario.
In considering entering into such an agreement, what are the issues to be conscious of? We have drafted many types of these agreements and they tend to cover the following major issues:
While these headings may be cryptic, they give you some insight into the breadth of issues that need to be addressed. While our philosophy is to keep it simple as much as possible, there is no substitute for ensuring the agreement can address as many contingencies as possible and to provide solutions for those contingencies.
Brian Herd won Solicitor of the Year (Large Firm) at the Queensland Law Society Excellence in Law Awards 2022. He was awarded the 2021 Australasian Journal on Ageing (AJA) Book Award after publishing his book, Avoiding the ageing parent trap, which is available to order from Booktopia.
HopgoodGanim’s Estates and succession team provides careful, considered and precise estate planning and succession advice to ensure family and business assets are transitioned as intended. The team designs estate plans for clients, in addition to supporting with estate administration, estate litigation and SMSF matters. You can find out more about Brian’s expertise and reach out to the team with any enquiries related to SMSFs and broader estate planning.
HopgoodGanim Lawyers also have an award-winning family law team if you require support with wider family and relationship law matters.