Australia’s aging population is growing each year and with that has brought a demand for legal services tailored specifically to the needs of our seniors and often their families as well.
What is Elder Law?
As people age and become increasingly vulnerable there are many areas of law that may affect them that until then otherwise may not have. We change as we get older, and so do our legal needs. Elder Law, a relatively new term, is a broad area of law that combines many traditional law areas with this focus in mind of the aging as well as disabled adults of any age. These areas are also often of interest to those people close to retirement and are in the process of making decisions in preparation to retire.
Apart from the obvious areas of estate planning for Wills, and the personal law area for Power of Attorneys (financial needs) and Advance Care Directives (long term care planning and personal needs) other more general areas of law can apply which affect commercial decisions around superannuation, real estate transactions, contracts for entering supported accommodation living arrangements, reverse mortgages and conveyancing. And basic legal rights in other situations apply such as guardianship matters, issues involving capacity and sometimes even financial abuse which requires assistance to recover funds accessed and used by another person without the best interests of the donor in mind.
As people age they’re often in a transition period wanting to downsize to newer or smaller homes and it is not unusual to consider moving into alternative living accommodation such as retirement villages. This is a complex and diverse area of law involving comprehensive legal agreements where clients are faced with making important financial and investment decisions around such matters of initial and ongoing contributions, departure fees and expenses and so on.
Even though some of these issues are complex and stressful, if any of these topics are relevant to you, please don’t put off making decisions – we are here to help you make informed decisions through these challenges. Even just a check with our lawyers to ensure all existing documents are up to date is helpful.