Aged Care & Retirement Planning
We want to help you transition through the next chapter in your life. Legal advice that is highly personalised can help you make the most important decisions you are faced with when planning your retirement and future health care needs.
Health care requirements and living arrangements are something we will all have to consider as we get older.
When considering what options best suit your lifestyle, financial circumstances and wellbeing now and into the future, it is important to discuss your needs and expectations with an experienced lawyer who understands this landscape.
The Retirement Village and Aged Care Sector in Australia can be a very complex market to navigate. By getting the right advice you can have confidence and peace of mind in finding the best option to suit your needs and preferences.
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Our aged care and retirement planning services include:
There are several ways for people to own or occupy premises in a retirement village or aged care facility. You can enter a retirement village either under long-term lease, under licence or by way of strata title ownership.
Under a long-term lease, the occupier is entitled to live in the property for a period of time pursuant to the lease (most commonly 99 years). The retirement village owner maintains ownership of the property, but the lease is registered in the occupier’s name providing security of tenure. Beyond the lease agreement, a ‘service agreement’ sets out the terms and conditions regarding the services provided during your time as a resident at the facility.
A resident agreement is a formal agreement between the resident and the aged care home. The prospective resident should review the agreement before they move into the facility. We suggest that all prospective residents obtain independent and trusted legal advice from a lawyer experienced in aged care before signing or paying an aged care facility any money.
It is very important to enter into a proper agreement in relation to granny flat arrangements because no matter how close families are, your circumstances can quickly change and with an agreement in place, everyone’s interests can be protected if you do have a falling out.
Normally the transferred property or funds would be deemed to be a gift and would affect the pension entitlements of the parent. ‘Granny flat’ rules allow for any money paid to the parent’s children to be exempt from the usual deeming legislation by Centrelink. The requirements are quite flexible, and you do not actually have to build a separate granny flat or separate residence. As long as there is a designated room or area that allows for your exclusive occupancy and there is an agreement to support the arrangement, Centrelink will usually approve the arrangement.
We care about your future and can help you confidently plan your retirement when you are considering moving into a retirement or aged care facility. Our experienced estate planning lawyers can assist you in reviewing your estate plan and ensuring your assets a protected in all stages of your life.
A good place to start is by finding out what options are available. You can begin your research by visiting www.myagedcare.gov.au
Speaking with a trusted financial adviser who is an Accredited Aged Care Specialist will help you determine what your best options are and what you can afford. Whether you want to stay in your own home longer but require additional assistance, or if you are looking to live in a retirement village or aged care facility, an experienced financial adviser can help you understand the fees and charges that will apply and whether or not you should sell the family home in pursuit of your new living arrangements. They can also help you with a range of financial strategies which will take into consideration your pension entitlements as well as any tax implications you need to consider.
Once you have entered into a retirement living agreement, there can be costly consequences if you want to exit or break the contract outside of the terms and conditions outlined. For this reason, it is imperative to seek legal advice before signing the agreement and moving into the village. If you try to break the agreement, you will likely get a nasty surprise of exorbitant exit fees.
Most retirement villages have a list of rules that all residents need to follow. These cover things like whether you’re allowed to have pets, whether you can hang paintings or pictures on your walls in your room, expectations in relation to any visitors you may have and timeframes around visiting hours.
It’s important to be familiar with the rules because if you are not, you can find yourself in a position where you have broken rules without even realising it. For serious breaches of the rules, your agreement may be terminated, and you could be asked to leave the village.
What is an Accredited Aged Care Professional?An Accredited Aged Care Professional is an individual who has successfully completed the Accredited Aged Care Professional Program, which is provided by Aged Care Steps. This accreditation is widely recognised as the gold standard for training in aged care advisory. The program equips professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the complexities of aged care, ultimately empowering them to guide their clients in making well-informed decisions about their options.
Meet Our Accredited Aged Care Professionals
Meet Debbie Sage, Senior Associate
Debbie Sage has an impressive tenure of over 18 years at Attwood Marshall Lawyers, specialising in Wills and Estates. A Senior Associate with a primary focus on estate administration and assisting clients during their transition to aged care, Debbie’s dedication to her work is admirable.
In 2020, Debbie completed the Accredited Aged Care Professionals program, driven by a commitment to providing the best possible support to her elderly clients. Her motivation was to ensure that she possessed the most current knowledge and resources essential to offering trusted advice in the aged care space.
Beyond her legal responsibilities, Debbie is a passionate advocate for legal reform and has actively led campaigns to combat elder abuse, amplifying the voices of some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
Meet Larisa Kapur, Associate
A valued member of the Wills and Estates Department for over nine years, Larisa Kapur works closely alongside Debbie.
In 2023, Larisa completed her Accreditation with the Aged Care Steps Program, underscoring her dedication to assisting elderly clients in making informed decisions about transitioning to care.
Larisa excels in crafting creative solutions that cater to her clients’ personal preferences, lifestyles, and care needs. In addition to her legal duties, Larisa extends her commitment to the community by visiting aged care homes to offer valuable information and answer any questions people may have. She also actively participates in local Seniors Expos, striving to make vital legal information accessible to everyone and educate the community about their rights.
Transitioning to aged care is a big decision – choose the right advisor
The aged care industry is constantly changing, and it is vital that individuals transitioning to aged care speak to an accredited professional to understand the regulations and policies that will impact their care choices and learn how to best negotiate with aged care facilities.
Debbie and Larisa are well-equipped to provide valuable insights and advice across all aspects of aged care, including at-home care packages, retirement villages, and residential care facilities. When faced with the complex decisions of transitioning to aged care, choose the expertise and guidance of our Accredited Aged Care Professionals.
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With specialised experience in the aged care sector, we’re here to help you make an informed decision about your care and living arrangements.