While various shared living arrangements between elderly people and usually other family members have been around for many years it seems it is becoming more prevalent with Council rules for granny flats being relaxed. Many elderly people find themselves in the situation that financially they begin to struggle without a regular income often in circumstances where their home, to put it bluntly, is worth a lot of money. The other issue can be where you find yourselves in need of help because failing health or even just alone when your spouse has passed away and many see moving in with the kids as the answer. The granny flat rules make this more attractive after years of unauthorised second dwellings and structures on land according to councils. The main issue with such shared living arrangements, is to ensure you have the right protection and that is by having an agreement in place which records the ‘deal’ if you like. Too many people go into such scenarios without having properly considered what can happen. There can be the situation where a house is extended at the cost of ‘mum and dad” adding significant value to the home, the granny flat addition at the back of the kids home or mum and dad move into the granny flat and leave the front house to a son or daughter and their family. There should always be written agreements in such situations, properly documenting the shared living arrangement and setting out each party’s rights and what happens to the property or other improvements when the deal comes to an end. Whose name should be on title, all, both, do you record percentages in line with value, will the property or part of it, form some sort of equitable trust, the parent for the child or vice versa, or was there a loan. What about Centrelink. All can become big issues when the parents pass away and there was no family agreement. Does the Will deal with the situation, was it a gift or intended to be repaid to the estate, what about inheritances for the other kids. Agreements should consider other situations such as outcomes and scenarios and deal with anticipated issues. What if the child’ relationship breaks down and there is a property dispute, what if the relationship with your child breaks down, what happens with deteriorating health, what care and support arrangements are there, what if mum or dad start a new relationship. How about compensation if things don’t work out? Give us a call at Johnston Tobin Solicitors for advice in making your agreement.