Elder Law

Moving into your later stages of life, can be an overwhelming, confusing and a scary time. At ACL-Law, however, we are committed to making this process as simple, transparent and as smooth as possible. Below is a short rundown on the types of matters ACL-Law can assist you with:

QCATApplying to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) for orders relating to an appointment of Administrators and/or Guardians.

Where an adult does not have a valid Enduring Power of Attorney and there is a sudden change in circumstances (e.g. they have a stroke) or they are no longer able to manage their own affairs the same as they used to, then it may be necessary for someone to be appointed as either their Financial Administrator and/or Guardian. This appointment involves an application to QCAT, which can be a very stressful and time consuming process.

The person who is appointed as the adult’s Financial Administrator and/or Guardian can then make decisions specifically about:

(as Financial Administrator)

  • buying or selling property;
  • maintaining property;
  • paying bills;
  • making business decisions; and
  • managing investments.

(as Guardian):

  • where the adult lives;
  • the support services they receive;
  • persons with whom they have contact or visit;
  • general health care matters; and
  • matters of security and safety to prevent potential harm to the adult.

If there is no appropriate person to be appointed Financial Administrator and/or Guardian then the Public Trustee and Office of Public Guardian can be appointed to manage your affairs, however, this is usually a last resort option. At ACL-Law we can assist you in considering your options regarding an appropriate appointment for your loved one as well as assisting you through the QCAT process.

Old Couple Walking in The ParkCentrelink and DVA have strict requirements and rules when it comes to:

  • giving away assets during your lifetime;
  • the death of your partner; or
  • when you are named as a beneficiary of a deceased’s Estate. While a loved one may have had good and honorable intentions and named you in their Will, however, once you receive this inheritance there may be an unforeseen negative impact upon your entitlements/benefits.

Any one of these events can change your current pension and/or government benefits. Let us help you to navigate the minefield that surrounds both Centrelink and/or DVA when it comes to preserving your entitlements and benefits.

Elder AbuseElder Abuse does not need to be physical or verbal. It can take on many forms which can include financial, sexual, verbal and/or physical. It can be subtle or it can be overtly obvious. Many elder people are either too afraid to speak up about the bad behaviour of their abuser or the abuse is so subtle they are not actually aware of it themselves, until it is too late.

Unfortunately, there are many cases where adult children try to justify their behaviour as the abuser of their elderly parents by saying that they are “just receiving their inheritance early“. Elder Abuse is never acceptable regardless of who is the abuser and how they try to justify their behaviour!

If you believe you are being abused or your loved one is being abused, contact our office for assistance, as there are a number of different legal and practical procedures that can be put in place to investigate the suspected activity as well as put a stop to it, before it is too late.

hands older peopleMany elder people do not want to be “put in a home” and would prefer to live independently as long as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always possible. However, under the Centrelink concessions, an alternate to being “put in a home” is for the elder person to move in with their family members so they can still have the care and assistance they require although avoiding being placed in a “home”. This arrangement is commonly referred to as a ‘Granny Flat‘ arrangement.

Ordinarily, any moneys passed from an elder person to their adult child would be captured by Centrelink’s gifting rules and could have a significant impact upon the elder person’s aged pension. The Centrelink Granny Flat concessions, however, allows a parent to sell their principle place of residence and pay money to their adult children for the right to occupy the adult child’s home. The money doesn’t necessarily need to go towards the actual construction of a separate residence for the elder person on the adult child’s land. It could be used as payment for the elder person’s “life interest” or right to occupy the adult child’s home.

To be eligible for the Centrelink Granny Flat concession, strict requirements need to be met. If done properly with the arrangement appropriately documented, Centrelink will usually approve the Granny Flat arrangement and there will no impact to the elder person’s aged pension.

Power of attorneyBeing appointed as the Attorney of a loved one can be an emotional and stressful experience. This appointment also carries with it a lot of responsibility and pressure. There are strict rules/duties and obligations attached to being someone’s Attorney, and if you do comply with your duties and obligations then you as the Attorney, can be held personally liable for any loss suffered to either the adult or their Estate. BEFORE you undertake any tasks as an Attorney we strongly recommend that you contact us for comprehensive advice on what you must and must not do as an Attorney.

These types of agreements/contracts can be overwhelming and complex. At ACL-Law we aim to take out the complexity of these agreements/contracts and provide you with comprehensive advice in simple English and in terms you understand.

Elder Law

Retirement Villages, Over 50’s Lifestyle Resorts and Aged Care Facility agreements are completely different to the traditional buy/sell conveyancing contracts you may have previously entered in to. Traditional conveyancing contracts, grants ownership of the land to the person (or entity) buying the property. Whereas Retirement VillageOver 50s Lifestyle Resorts and Aged Care Facility agreements have peculiar clauses in them which only allows the person entering into the agreement to have a right/licence to occupy the land, they do not actually own the land, although they may be required to contribute to the property rates and water rates. To put it another way, it is like being a tenant for an indefinite period, rather than an owner of the land.

Entering into Retirement Village, Over 50s Lifestyle Resorts and Aged Care Facility agreements can have significant financial consequences not only for you, but, also for your Estate once you pass away. Some agreements prohibit your children (or intended beneficiaries under your Will) from actually acquiring ownership of the property once you have died. Often there are significant financial expenses associated with entering into Retirement Village, Over 50s Lifestyle Resorts and Aged Care Facility agreements as well as ongoing expenses and significant expenses associated with leaving the facility. This is why it is extremely important to obtain expert independent legal advice BEFORE you sign any document.

Let us take the burden out of navigating the legal minefield which can be associated with the later stages of life.

Contact us now to see how we can assist you.