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|Updated: 27 Apr 2017|
|Legal/Para Legal Services||Yes|
|Updated: 27 Apr 2017|
|Elderly Services & Seniors Law Team
Having provided a full range of legal services to the people of Canterbury since 1888 it was a natural progression for Harmans to establish and develop areas of law that will provide their clients with expert advice in an increasingly diversified legal environment.
One such speciality area of law is the Elderly Services and Seniors Law Team, which was formed by Harmans in 1999 to coincide with the International Year of the Older Person.
Over the past 17 years, the Seniors Law Team has built on those early foundations and continues to diversify and grow as the baby boomer generation moves into retirement and the need for specialist legal advice in this area of law rapidly increases.
Examples of specialist areas of law, with a specific impact on seniors, are:
•the growth of the retirement village industry and the need for expert legal advice prior to entry into an Occupation Right Agreement
•the criteria surrounding eligibility for a Residential Care Subsidy, which requires a working knowledge of the current regulations, including the relevant asset and income testing levels and the Work and Income gifting regime, particularly in relation to Discretionary or Family Trusts
•property ownership and how this may impact on you and your family as you move into retirement
The Seniors Law Team also ensures that clients have:
•robust advice on asset protection and estate planning and how this will affect them as they move into retirement
•valid Enduring Powers of Attorney for both Property and Personal Care & Welfare
•assistance with a variety of legal work such as, conveyancing, Trust formation and on-going administration
Harmans Seniors Law Team is based at our Papanui office.
One of our goals is to ensure that all of our Senior clients have access to legal advice and assistance. Sometimes that requires us to take our service to our clients. We can therefore arrange appointments in our clients’ homes, or when required, in the care facility or hospital they are residing in, either to take instructions or to witness their execution of the documents.
|Updated: 17 Oct 2019|
Legal Issues As We Age
New Zealand’s aging population has resulted in new and complex legal issues. Longer lifespans, blended families, sunset relationships and a variety of housing and care choices, requires tailored legal solutions and specialist advice.
The need to protect vulnerable people has led to detailed legislative requirements for setting up enduring powers of attorney documents. Rather than just nominating an attorney the person must consider how their attorney may act, the extent of their authority, who they must consult and who may be provided with information.
The growing cost of rest home care to the government has led to a rigorous implementation of policies under the Social Security Act 1964 when assessing applicants’ assets and income. The prevalence of homes held in Family Trusts and the gifting programs undertaken as part of this process impact on the assessment also. Court challenges to the interpretation of the Social Security Act, mean that the legal landscape is evolving all the time.
The difficulty in financing the purchase of a first home has seen many parents looking for ways to assist their children while still protecting their assets. The prevalence of multi-generational households due to a variety of factors including a shortage of housing, or the desire to care for aging parents, creates another set of legal issues. Setting out intentions and agreements in advance in a deed can help avoid misunderstandings and disputes in the future.
Forming new relationships later in life creates another layer of complexity. Often couples are not aware of the sharing provisions in the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 and how soon they apply. Blended families, for those who enter second or subsequent relationships, create issues around succession planning and inheritance. There are other issues to consider in the event that one of the partners requires rest home care and the impact of the assessment of the assets of the parties.
Advising on these growing and complex legal issues appropriately requires a specialist focus. Harmans recognised and responded to this in the International Year of the Older Person in 1999 setting up an Elderly Services and Seniors Law team. Some 22 years later Harmans Senior’s Team remains focused on keeping up to date with the latest developments and specialising in assisting with all aspects of elder law issues in a friendly and caring manner.
By planning for the future you may avoid stress, uncertainty and unintended consequences. Give Phillipa Shaw a call on 352-2293 to arrange an appointment to discuss your situation.
|Updated: 30 Mar 2021|