CFFC helps lawyers with retirement village advice

Hundreds of lawyers from throughout New Zealand are attending seminars chaired by the Commission for Financial Capability on how to best advise clients thinking of moving to a retirement village.

The first seminar on February 13 was organised by the Auckland District Law Society in liaison with CFFC’s National Manager of Retirement Villages, Troy Churton, who chaired the event. It was attended by about 200 lawyers at the Society’s offices, both in person and watching via live stream. A further 200 are expected to take part in a second seminar at the New Zealand District Law Society on March 27.

The Retirement Villages Act 2003 requires village companies to advise those intending to move into a village to gain legal advice before doing so. Churton, who is also a qualified lawyer, says neighbourhood lawyers might be consulted by about 12 individuals or couples every two years.

“The challenge for lawyers is keeping up to date with what is happening in the industry and how that’s reflected in changing agreements, the implications of which can be far-reaching,” says Churton. “The standard of advice required is high because they need to be able to discuss the wisdom of entering the transaction for that particular resident in that particular village.”

Called The Wisdom of the Transaction, the seminars have been designed by Churton and the law societies to enable panel discussions and question and answer sessions.

Following the first seminar, Gavin Joliffe of the Auckland District Law Society said Churton’s “interesting and relevant” contribution had highlighted key issues for lawyers, all of whom had given excellent feedback on the value of the seminar.

Churton said the CFFC, which performs a monitoring role of the retirement village sector and advises intending and current residents on their rights and responsibilities, valued the opportunity to contribute to how lawyers generate their own best practice.