Secure your future: The essential role of legal advice when moving to a retirement village

Clifford Gouldson Lawyers


Clifford Gouldson Lawyers is a leading regional provider of legal services to the business, government and not for profit sectors. Established in Toowoomba more than 15 years ago with a commitment to offering specialised expertise in a regional setting we now provide our services across multiple offices within Queensland and interstate.
When it comes to retirement village contracts obtaining legal advice is always strongly recommended.
Australia Corporate/Commercial Law
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Making the decision to move into a retirement village is a significant life step, and it is essential to approach this decision with careful consideration and understanding of your rights and obligations.

When it comes to seeking legal advice prior to moving into a Retirement Village, there are specific situations where it is mandatory to seek legal advice and other situations where it is not compulsory but still highly recommended.

When Legal Advice is Compulsory: Waiving the 21-Day Disclosure Period

Under the Retirement Villages Act 1999 (Qld), once the retirement village provides you with the contract and disclosure information, you are not permitted to sign these documents for 21 days. This period of time allows you to review the contract, seek legal and financial advice (if you choose to do so), and fully understand the terms and conditions before committing to the agreement.

The only time that it is permitted to sign Retirement Village documents within this 21-day disclosure period is if:

  1. you receive legal advice regarding the contract; and
  2. the lawyer providing the advice completes a Form 5 Waiver of the disclosure period.

This requirement ensures that you are aware of the implications of waiving this critical period and that you fully understand the consequences of your decision.

Often, we find that clients who are seeking to waive the 21-day disclosure period need to do so in order to move into the Retirement Village either:

  1. as soon as possible; or
  2. contemporaneously with the sale of their home (which cannot occur unless the disclosure period is waived).

When Legal Advice is Strongly Recommended

If you do not need to sign the Retirement Village contract within the 21-day disclosure period, then receiving legal advice is optional, rather than compulsory.

That said, even when the 21-day disclosure period is not waived, seeking legal advice is still strongly recommended. Often clients elect to receive legal advice because:

  1. Not all retirement village contracts are the same. Each one may have its own unique rules and requirements.
  2. These are complex legal documents. A lawyer can help you navigate the terms, conditions, and potential risks involved before you commit to a major life decision;
  3. Moving into a retirement village involves financial considerations that significantly differ from a typical property purchase. Seeking legal advice can help you assess the upfront costs, the ongoing fees, and any exit fees or refurbishment costs that may apply upon leaving the village;
  4. There will be ongoing rules and regulations that will apply to your life in the village. Knowing your rights can help you advocate for yourself and ensure that you receive the level of care and support you are entitled to within the village.
  5. Moving into a retirement village can have implications for your estate planning. Seeking legal advice can help you understand how this decision may affect your will, power of attorney, and other estate planning documents;
  6. Understanding the exit and resale process is essential to avoid any surprises or financial losses when you decide to leave the retirement village. Legal advice can help you assess the village's resale obligations and the potential impact on your finances when you sell your unit; and
  7. You may be acting as an attorney for a person who wishes to move into a retirement village. As attorneys are required to act in the best interest of the principal, it is prudent for attorneys to obtain legal advice prior to relocating the principal to a retirement village.


When it comes to retirement village contracts, whilst legal advice is only compulsory if you wish to waive the 21-day disclosure period, obtaining legal advice is always strongly recommended.

By consulting with a lawyer familiar with Queensland retirement village contracts, you can make an informed decision as to whether entering into a retirement village is the right decision for you and the lifestyle you are seeking.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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