Tuesday, September 20, 2022

(all your) Elder** care agreements

One form of legal documentation that is becoming increasingly prevalent is contractual arrangements between children and their parents where those children are providing support to their parents.

Most commonly, the agreements set out the exact legal basis on which support is provided, whether it be direct financial support (such as paying expenses), indirect financial support (for example, providing accommodation without seeking reimbursement of expenses) or in kind support (for example, caring services).

A comprehensive agreement will deal with a range of matters, many of which can potentially lead to later litigation if not appropriately addressed.

Examples include:
  1. agreed financial values for all support provided;
  2. the timeframe over which support will be provided;
  3. legal ownership of any jointly acquired assets;
  4. impact on the entitlements of each child under their parents’ estate plan;
  5. principal and interest repayment terms in relation to any loans that may have been made;
  6. consequences of death or incapacity;
  7. consequences of any relationship breakdowns (for example, the divorce or separation of a child who is a primary carer of a parent);
  8. consequences of any relationship breakdown between the relevant child and the parent;
  9. dispute resolution provisions; and
  10. consequences of termination (including potentially compensation for any foregone opportunities).
Ideally, although arguably not strictly required in a legal sense, the parties to this style of agreement should include all family members, particularly those who might otherwise have different expectations as to what they might receive pursuant to the estate plan for the parents.

** For the trainspotters, the title of today's post is riffed from the Go Betweens song 'Ask'.

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