“Elder Law” is a relatively new term, referring to the range of legal issues that arise for the elderly and their families. With advancing years come a variety of concerns and the need to take steps to care for the interests of older family members including dealing with dementia and incapacity, accommodation needs and aged care living and how you want your assets dealt with after your death.
There are many ways that Websters Lawyers can help you, your family members or people you trust and the various legal issues you need to consider and the decisions that need to be made as your needs change with the passing years.
If you are an elderly person or you have an elderly relative for whom you care, what matters might you need to consider?
Making Sure You Have A Good Will
Do You Have A Will? Do you need to review your current Will to take into account adult children and grandchildren? It is important that your wishes as to how your assets are to be dealt with after your death are contained in a properly prepared Will.
At Websters Lawyers, we have lawyers that specialise in preparing Wills that clearly express your intentions and ensure you have appointed people who you trust will carry out your instructions.
Do you have an Advance Care Directive?
An Advanced Care Directive enables you to make arrangements for your future accommodation, health care and treatment to ensure your wishes are carried out, if you have a serious illness or mental incapacity.
Whilst we understand that thinking about serious illness or incapacity can be very difficult, here at Websters Lawyers, we can help you set out some plans and requirements for the way you want your lifestyle and medical care to be managed by people you trust, if you become unable to make these decisions for yourself.
Powers of Attorney
Have you considered a power of attorney and appointing a family member or a trusted person to deal with your financial and legal affairs if you are unable to manage them yourself?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to appoint a trusted person as an attorney to deal with your legal and financial affairs in either specific or limited situations or in the event of illness or subsequent mental incapacity. Attorneys have to act in your best interests and cannot act as if your money is their own money.
Do you have a Power of Attorney or have you prepared a Power of Attorney in the past but it needs updating? Websters Lawyers can help you ensure that you understand the duties of your Attorney and how the Power of Attorney operates.
Assisting with Guardianship & Administration Matters
If a family member has a legal incapacity and cannot manage their affairs and a Power of Attorney has not been prepared, the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT) is the Tribunal that administers applications regarding the administration of a person’s affairs.
If you have a family member or a person you care for who has a severe illness or mental incapacity, we can help you with the application process to SACAT to appoint an Administrator to make decisions about the person’s financial and legal affairs.
If your family member has a legal incapacity and an Advanced Care Directive has not been prepared, we can also help you with the process of obtaining a Guardianship Order to enable you to make decisions about the persons medical treatment, living and accommodation decisions and lifestyle decisions.
If SACAT have made a Guardianship Order and you are concerned that the administrator may be abusing the authority that has been given, we can also assist you with the application process of challenging and disputing decisions and in seeking to remove the appointment of a particular guardian.
Elder Abuse/Financial Abuse
Are you or a family member concerned as to how someone appointed under a Power of Attorney has been managing your financial affairs? Are funds might be missing or a property been dealt with improperly? An Attorney must act in the best interests of the person who has appointed them and they need to properly account for how the financial and legal affairs are being managed.
At Websters Lawyers, we can assist you with identifying the matters of concern. We can advise you on the Court process for an attorney accounting and producing records of the financial dealings and transactions made by the attorney or the action to be taken if property has been dealt with unlawfully.
Moving to a Retirement Village or Aged Care Facility
With an aging population, downsizing and moving out of the family home is often at the top of the list of matters to consider.
Are you considering moving into a Retirement Village and need advice on a Retirement Village Contract? Retirement Village Contracts are not simple documents and contain complex terms and fee structures.
Significant prices are paid by residents to move into a village and it is important that you seek legal advice on the terms of the contract in particular, the fees and charges, ongoing monthly fees, repairs and maintenance and exit entitlements on the termination of the agreement and the options available for reselling the unit.
What happens if you are having second thoughts in relation to the signing of a Retirement Villages Contract? We can advise you on your cooling off rights.
What if you have more significant care needs and you are required to enter into a nursing home or Aged Care Accommodation? Will you be required to pay a Refundable Accommodation Bond? How is the refund dealt with by your Estate after you death?
Similarly, Residents Accommodation Agreements in Aged Care Homes are legally binding documents which detail the services a resident will receive, the fees and charges paid and the rights and responsibilities of you as a resident, the care and other services you will receive, the policies and practices of the facility and the Aged Care Home responsibilities to you as a resident.
We can assist you or your family members and carers to ensure that you properly understand the terms of the contract. We can also give you advice in relation to withdrawing from or cancelling the Residents Accommodation Agreements, also provide for accommodation price options, whether by lump sum, rental or a combination of both and we can assist you with identifying your specific requirements depending on your needs and financial means, as you may be entitled to a Government Subsidy towards your care and accommodation.
Should you only have short term care needs, you are still required to sign a Resident Agreement for Respite Care Agreement and we can also provide advice to you with respect to your obligations under such agreements.
Probate and Assisting with the Administration of Estates
Once your family member has passed away, we can assist you with the Probate process that all Wills must go through after a person dies and the duties that need to be carried out by an Executor to ascertain the assets and debts of the estate and to distribute the assets in accordance with the Will.
The Grant of Probate process is required to ensure that a Will was properly made and executed in accordance with the Will Makers’ wishes.
We can also assist if your elderly relative died without a Will and the process required to deal with their assets and obtain the Letters of Administration..
We have experienced Solicitors who can help you with this process. For further information, please link to our Website at Areas of Law Practice – Deceased Estates.
Inheritance Claims and Will Disputes
If there is a dispute about a Will, you should seek legal advice as to whether you have a claim for further provision from the estate of the deceased family member. There are many factors that a court will consider in assessing whether a person has not been provided for in a deceased’s will and we can advise you as to whether you should make a claim.
There are strict time limits imposed by the relevant Act and it is crucial that you contact us as soon as possible.
For further information, please link to our Website at Areas of Law Practice - Inheritance Claims and Will Disputes.
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