Senior couple sitting on bench in park

Nina and Joe's family agreement gone wrong

Nina and Joe helped invest in a property with their daughter. They were able to get that investment back after proving it was not a gift.

Last updated: 12 July 2024

Nina and Joe were both in their seventies. They lived in their own home, which was valued at $950,000. They were finding it difficult to service the $280,000 mortgage as their only income was the age pension.

Nina and Joe happily came to an agreement with their daughter, Marie, and their son-in-law, Pete. Nina and Joe sold their house and contributed $600,000 to Marie and Pete to purchase a new home, big enough for them all to live in.

Nina and Joe informed Centrelink, which noted that this contribution in return for right of residence, formed a granny flat interest and they would continue to receive their pension. Nina and Joe provided Centrelink with written documentation of the arrangement.

Unfortunately, after five years of living together and rising tensions, Marie and Pete demanded that Nina and Joe move out. Nina and Joe asked Marie to return their contribution but Marie refused, telling them she thought it had been a gift.

Because Nina and Joe had informed Centrelink and provided written documentation they could prove that the $600,000 was not a gift but a contribution in return for care and accommodation. They engaged a lawyer who negotiated with Marie and Pete to sell the property and return the payment as they were no longer providing the promised care and accommodation to Nina and Joe.