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Family Agreements Tip Sheet

If you are considering entering into a formal Family Agreement here are a few tips to consider.

Last updated: 30 May 2022

A Family Agreement (sometimes known as an Assets for Care arrangement) should be mutually beneficial. Here are a few of the key points made by the panellists in the Family Agreements webinar. You can watch the full webinar and access more information about Family Agreements here.

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If you are considering entering into a formal Family Agreement here are a few tips to consider

  • When discussing the idea of formalising a Family Agreement with your family, remember that putting this agreement in place isn’t because you don’t trust your family – it is about protecting everyone’s interests.

  • Think about what you want.

  • Think about if you are being pressured.

  • Ask yourself - is this the only option?

  • Consider what you might be giving up if you enter into this agreement? e.g. Independence, assets, and property.

  • List all the pros and cons.

  • Consider what might happen if you leave the agreement.

  • Sit down and discuss everything with the party or parties to the agreement. If you are entering into the agreement with a family member, be sure to discuss the proposed arrangement with the whole family as well as your friends – so that everyone is aware of what you are doing and that you are getting as many different perspectives as possible. Discuss all the options and contingencies.

  • Get independent legal and financial advice when drafting the formal Family Agreement.

  • When you attend your appointment with your lawyer and/or financial adviser do so without the financial beneficiary of the agreement present e.g. adult child. Remember the lawyer is acting for you. If you need support to meet with a lawyer or financial adviser, take somebody who is removed from the immediate situation.

  • Don’t be concerned if the lawyer initially asks questions about Capacity or the possibility of Undue Influence. This is the lawyer doing their job.

  • Take time to consider all the advice before deciding what is in your best interests.

  • Get on the Title of the property if that is appropriate to your transaction e.g. Granny Flat arrangement.

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Financial Information Services

Centrelink (Services Australia) have the independent Financial Information Service which you can contact to ask questions about the impact on Centrelink payments or tax of your proposed Family Agreement e.g. gifting or transferring money or assets.

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What to do when things go wrong

Sometimes things go wrong through no fault of anybody. e.g. Illness may change circumstances. Relationships may breakdown. Marriages can breakdown, particularly of adult children. Employment circumstances may change or indeed parties to the agreement may not be able to fulfill their obligations. If you have a formal Family Agreement in place you are better placed to access civil and legal options to resolve disputes.

You can get support from an advocacy organisation. You can start this process by contacting the Elder Helpline (1800 353 374)

Disclaimer: Laws in Australia vary from state to state and between territories. The information provided on this Tip Sheet is not a substitute for individual legal advice.

Download PDF version

You can download a PDF version of the Family Agreements Tip Sheet here.