Family Agreements - Know Your Rights and Responsibilities

This fact sheet deals with the potential benefits of Family Agreements, some of the things that can go wrong, and what you need to know, and do, to protect your rights and your property.

A Family Agreement is an arrangement (often verbal) made between an older person and another party (typically family members, friends or carers). The agreement may involve an older person providing a benefit to the other party in exchange for promises of future care. Family Agreements can take a number of forms. They may involve sharing accommodation, joint property ownership, loans or gifts of cash or other assets.

Many families have entered into successful, mutually supportive agreements. For instance, a shared accommodation arrangement may give an older person closer contact with their grandchildren. The person may find it rewarding to help care for their grandchildren and generally help run the household. In turn, an older person with an illness or disability can be cared for by family members who live in the same household. And in this era of high house prices, a joint property purchase with a parent can help younger adults enter the property market much sooner.