A lifetime support contract with an emphasis on the possibility of termination

This article touches on a lifetime support contract with special reference to the termination. If you are interested, you can find out more about it below.

With the lifetime support contract one party (the support provider) commits to support the other party or the third party (the recipient of the support) until his death, and the other party commits to giving all of its property or a part of it, with the acquisition of the property and rights being delayed until the moment of death of the recipient. This contract must be drawn up in writing and certified by a judge of the competent court or confirmed (solemnized) by a notary public or drawn up in the form of a notarial act.

Support providers’ responsibilities may include, for example, the daily provision of a warm meal, the purchase of groceries, taking care of household hygiene, taking care of a person’s health, and so on. On the other hand, the recipient of the support may, in turn, specify that he or she will, for example, leave the support provider his / her real estate.

If the subject of a lifetime support contract is a real estate, the support provider is authorized to request that the contract be recorded in the land register, and if the subject of a lifetime support contract is movable property or some kind of right for which a public register is maintained, the support provider is authorized to request the entry or other appropriate registration of that contract to that public register. In any case, it is advisable to do this so that the right to lifetime support is also visible to third parties, and for this reason it is advisable to consult with a lawyer.

The contract can be terminated in two ways:

  1. by a mutual agreement
  2. by court, namely
  • if the cohabitation has become unbearable
  • due to changed circumstances

The contracting parties may terminate the lifetime support contract by a mutual agreement.

Concerning amicable termination, it is interesting to note the case law. The Varaždin County Court ruled that if the parties terminated a lifetime support contract on the basis of which the support provider was obliged to pay the household expenses, then the support recipient who paid the household expenses herself during the cohabitation with the support provider is entitled to seek the reimbursment of costs from the support provider.

If, under a lifetime support contract, the parties live together and their relationship is so disrupted that the life together becomes unbearable, either party may require the court to terminate the contract, which may be requested if either party fails to fulfill its obligations. The court may convert the right of the recipient to a life annuity if it is appropriate for both parties.

Regarding the case law, the Varaždin County Court, in its judgment Gž.627 / 07-2 decided that the right to terminate a lifetime support contract does not belong to the party whose fault for the relationship disruption indicates the abuse of rights, thus causing the relationship to be disrupted in order to make cohabitation unbearable and cause the termination of the contract.

Also, this court considers that the legal position of the court of first instance is erroneous when arguing that termination of a lifetime support contract can only be claimed on the assumption that there is a cohabitation between the parties.

Furthermore, the contract may be terminated due to changed circumstances. In accordance with the Art. 369 of the Law on obligatory Relation, if due to extraordinary circumstances arising after the conclusion of the contract, which could not have been foreseen at the time of the conclusion of the contract, the fulfillment of the obligation by one contracting party would become excessively difficult or would cause it an excessively large loss, it may require that the contract is amended or even terminated. It is important to emphasize that a party requesting an amendment or termination of a contract cannot invoke the changed circumstances that occurred after the expiry of the time limit set for fulfilling its obligation. Also, a party authorized to change the contract due to changed circumstances is obliged to inform the other party of its intention as soon as it learns that such circumstances have occurred, and if it does not do so, it shall be liable for the damage suffered by the other party due to its failure to notify on time.

In the light of all of the above, termination of a lifetime support contract is most often due to a disrupt of the relationship between the support recipient and the support provider. Regardless of whether you have just entered into a lifetime support contract or you wish to terminate it, it is advisable to consult a lawyer who will be able to professionally advise you regarding this topic.