The DSCV has been working in conjunction with Senior Rights Victoria (SRV) to make families aware of the need for proper planning and open communication when an older person transfers property or assets or pays a sum of money to a family member in exchange for care.
A family meeting is an effective way for family members to get together to discuss options. It enables older people and their families to have open conversations and make decisions together for the older person’s future care and living arrangements, reducing the likelihood of future conflict arising after assets have been sold.
While you can have a family meeting at any time, it is often better to have one sooner rather than later.
DSCV’s family meeting service
A family meeting, run by a trained mediator, is an opportunity for family members to get together to discuss the arrangements and to put the agreement in writing. Having a family meeting enables the family to discuss issues of concern openly, which means that any concern can be managed constructively and family relationships can be preserved or enhanced.
What happens at a DSCV family meeting?
Family meetings are like guided discussions, with one important difference: they are run by an impartial mediator who will:
• guide the family members through the discussion,
• make sure everyone’s concerns, needs and interests are considered,
• help families explore a range of options.
If the family wants a written agreement, the mediator can help them agree on the details and put it in writing.
Organising a family meeting through DSCV
Any member of the family or their support agency can contact DSCV. Our services are free and you do not need a referral. To locate your local DSCV office, visit our Contact Us page or call 1300 372 888.
When you contact DSCV, our Dispute Assessment Officers (DAOs) will discuss your situation, and talk about common issues that older people experience when faced with changed financial and living arrangements. An interpreter can be provided if needed
If you feel that a DSCV family meeting would be beneficial, we would then write to the other family members at your request, asking them if they would consider participating. Like all DSCV services, this process is completely confidential and requires voluntary participation of all involved.
Meetings can be arranged at a location suitable for all parties. DSCV has developed a checklist of common issues that might need to be discussed at a family meeting.
Do we need a written agreement?
Most families have a verbal agreement for these arrangements; however, having a written agreement will help everyone remember what has been discussed and agreed to. If you want this to be legally binding you will need to go to a solicitor .
To learn more about Asset for Care arrangements, you can download the SRV publication Care for your Assets.
You can also download our checklist of common issues that families may need to discuss, as well as our brochure Moving In – Older People and their Families (available as attachments to download below).