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February 2024

Considering moving to a retirement village? Here's what you need to know about navigating Occupation Right Agreements

As retirement approaches, many individuals face the decision of where and how to spend their golden years. For some, the convenience and lifestyle that retirement villages offer becomes increasingly appealing. However, choosing a retirement village requires careful consideration, particularly concerning Occupation Right Agreements (ORA). In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of ORAs, considerations when contemplating retirement village living, and essential steps to ensure a smooth transition.

What is an Occupation Right Agreement?

Occupation Right Agreements serve as the cornerstone of retirement village living, outlining the terms and conditions under which residents occupy their chosen dwellings. It’s crucial to recognise that ORAs aren’t one-size-fits-all; they vary significantly among retirement village providers. As such, prospective residents must thoroughly review and comprehend the specifics of each agreement before making any commitments.

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Key Considerations

If retirement village living is something you’re interested in, here are some key things to consider:

  • Aligning Objectives: Your retirement should reflect your aspirations and needs. Whether it’s maintaining independence, enjoying social interactions, or ensuring access to necessary care, understanding your objectives is paramount.
  • Exploring Alternatives: Before committing to a retirement village, consider alternative options such as home help services or downsizing to a more manageable residence. Assessing these alternatives ensures that your decision aligns with your lifestyle and requirements.
  • Conducting Due Diligence: Choosing the right retirement village demands careful research. Evaluate factors such as lifestyle offerings, anticipated care needs, and the quality of community engagement. Additionally, interacting with current residents provides invaluable insights into daily life within the village.
  • Legal Counsel: Before committing to a village, seek guidance from a legal expert specialising in elder law. They can explain the intricacies of the agreement and associated costs, and they’ll ensure you’re fully informed before proceeding.
  • Financial Planning: Retirement village living entails financial considerations beyond the initial purchase price. Be mindful of ongoing costs, potential capital growth options, and the impact on your estate planning. Financial clarity empowers you to make informed decisions that align with your long-term goals.
  • Trusts and ORAs: If you have most of your wealth tied up in a family trust, it is important to note that most retirement villages will not allow a Trust to enter into the ORA – you have to personally. This raises the question of how you are going to fund the purchase of the ORA. Do you need to wind up the Trust? Talking to a trust specialist lawyer will show that there are other options available besides winding up the Trust.

As our population ages, retirement living options continue to evolve. Some retirement village providers now offer fixed ongoing costs, capital growth opportunities, and progressive care options, including dementia care. These advancements cater to diverse needs and preferences, providing residents with greater flexibility and peace of mind.

We’re Here to Help

Navigating the complexities of retirement village living and Occupation Right Agreements demands careful deliberation and informed decision-making. By aligning your objectives, conducting thorough research, and working with a legal professional, you can embark on this new chapter with confidence and clarity. Remember, it’s your retirement— you’ve worked hard and deserve to make choices that prioritise your well-being and fulfilment.

At Grayson Clements, we’re committed to guiding you through every step of the retirement planning journey. From exploring options to understanding agreements and beyond, we’re here to ensure your transition into retirement village living is seamless and rewarding. Get in touch with us today to embark on this exciting chapter with confidence.