Lawyer talks to NSA about retirement village conditions

LAW for Seniors - Retirement and older age don't mean we can settle down and put our feet up without a care in the world.

At the morning tea meeting on June 4, lawyer Kym Briese went over some of the legal issues we may have to grapple with before we can take our ease.

If we are thinking of moving to a retirement village, residential aged care accommodation or manufactured home park, or sharing property with family, we need to look at what our financial and legal situation will be.

Retirement villages have a wide range of occupancy conditions from freehold ownership to leasehold, licence or loan arrangements which must be set out in a Public Information Document and a Residence Agreement.

Similarly, residential aged care accommodation may involve a bond or an accommodation charge. These are quite separate from daily living and care fees for services such as utilities, meals, cleaning and recreation.

If you are planning a move, get financial and legal advice before signing anything.

Another legal minefield for seniors is the question of estate planning and the making of a will. If you die without a valid will, legislation determines how your estate will be distributed - the costs will be higher and the distribution may not be in accordance with your wishes.

Even with a Will, the possibility remains of a legal challenge by disgruntled relatives, and a child's marriage breakdown, remarriage or death may result in unintended consequences. Assets distributed to your child may become part of a divorce settlement and end up with an "ex" and their offspring rather than going on to your own grandchildren. If a child or their spouse becomes bankrupt, your assets may be lost to creditors.

Providing for a testamentary trust is one way of ensuring that your assets are not caught up in subsequent legal proceedings, but will pass on to direct descendants only.

So if you care what happens to your estate after you die, see your solicitor about making a Will.

Das Neumann Haus

Annie Schermuly was born in London in 1859, her mother was a daughter of the English aristocracy and her father a gifted German musician. As a young woman she was well travelled and fluent in German and French as well as English.

Annie came to Australia as a ship's interpreter and on a visit to Ipswich in 1885, she met and married a German furniture maker and violinist called Hermann Neumann.

In 1893, Hermann and Annie moved to Laidley to set up a branch of the family furniture business and Hermann built Das Neumann Haus. A furniture showroom was attached to the house with folding doors to the living room so Annie could keep an eye on the business while looking after her growing family. Hermann also built a large two-storey workshop at the back where he made household and church furniture as well as pursuing his hobbies of making violins and grandfather clocks.

All the family was involved in music and taught piano and violin to local children.

Annie loved entertaining, and persuaded Hermann to add an upper storey to the house which included a "Tiffin" room and two balconies.

On special occasions, the family played concerts for the community from the balcony overlooking the street

In 1980, the house was donated to the Laidley Shire Council. After temporary use as office space and meeting rooms, the house was restored in 1998 and opened to the public as a museum and coffee house.

The café on the ground floor has been named Annie's Place to continue the tradition of dropping in for a cuppa, some home style cooking and a bit of a chat.

We could almost feel Annie's presence as we enjoyed our morning tea at Das Neumann Haus on our recent bus trip to the Lockyer Valley.

Coming Up: Our next bus trip on Thursday July 18 is a winter Mystery Trip. All we can say is a great time will be had by all! Departure time is 8am and the cost is $55.

On Thursday, August 6 we will be holding our Annual General Meeting at Regents on the Lake commencing at 9.30am and including morning tea. The cost will be $12.

For enquiries or bookings, phone June on 4635 9796 or Yvonne on 4638 5252.

Merv and Di Hensler, Laurie Murkin, Yvonne Beale and Vicki Hyland enjoy a delicious Devonshire tea on the veranda at Annie's Place, Das Neumann Haus.
Merv and Di Hensler, Laurie Murkin, Yvonne Beale and Vicki Hyland enjoy a delicious Devonshire tea on the veranda at Annie's Place, Das Neumann Haus. nicky.norman

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