A life support contract is one of the most common and significant succession contracts in our law. It is regulated by the provisions of Art. 194 to 205 of the Law on Inheritance, as a contract obliging the recipient of the property to transfer to the grantor the property of certain specific things or other rights after his death, and the maintenance provider undertakes to support him as compensation for this, and takes care of him for the rest of his life and buries him after death.
Article 194 of the aforementioned law also stipulates that the recipient of maintenance by contract may cover only things or rights existing at the time the contract is concluded. Unless otherwise agreed, the maintenance obligation includes in particular the provision of housing, food, clothing and footwear, appropriate care in illness and old age, the cost of treatment and administration for daily routine needs.
According to the provisions of the Act, a life support contract is a strictly formal legal work, valid only if it is concluded in writing and certified. During certification, the notary is obliged to read the contract to the parties and to the recipient of the sustenance, in particular, to warn that the property subject to the contract does not enter into his legacy and that it cannot be settled by the necessary heirs, otherwise it is null and void.
On the recipient’s side, the most common is the elderly and sick person, who is unable to care for himself or herself, and this is one of the main reasons why he / she decides to conclude a life support contract. The youngest natural person who undertakes to take care of the support recipient, support him or her for the rest of his or her life and, after his or her death, is most likely to appear as a support provider.
While material obligations may also be fulfilled through third parties, the obligations related to the care and care of the recipient of maintenance must be fulfilled solely through the personal contact of the two contracting parties (provider and recipient).
A lifetime maintenance contract may also be concluded in favor of multi-person support. This contract may also be concluded for the benefit of a third party, where “the grantor acquires ownership of the objects of the contract at the time of the death of his interlocutor if the contract does not stipulate that the property exceeds at the time of the death of the third party.”
The legislator excludes the possibility of finding as a support provider a natural or legal person who, within the scope of his profession or activity, takes care of the recipient (medical staff, hospitals, etc.) if the consent of the competent guardianship authority has not been obtained in advance.
A lifetime maintenance contract is often the subject of litigation after the death of the recipient. Extensive case law shows that courts interpret and apply a life support contract primarily in the interest of the recipient, as a weaker contracting party, in particular with regard to the purpose of concluding a life support contract, the obligation to continue providing maintenance from the time the contract is concluded until the death of the recipient, the maintenance provider’s obligation relating to the length of life of the recipient, for which it is not possible to determine in advance whether there is a proportion of mutual benefits, the non-transferability of the maintenance provider’s obligation to third parties, the nullity of the contract if the maintenance provider is a carer in the occupation , the ability of the recipient to dispose of property subject to a lifetime maintenance contract for the duration of that contract in order to protect the interests of the recipient, who remains the owner of his property until his death, etc.
It often happens in practice and in real life, that mutual relations between the contracting parties after conclusion are so much that they become unbearable, and for this reason the contract cannot be maintained. As a reason, there may certainly be a gross neglect of the obligations of the maintenance provider provided for in the Lifetime Support Agreement. In the event of termination due to disturbed relationships, the recipient of maintenance is obliged to reimburse the maintenance provider for the benefits and services received.
Finally, the Lifetime Support Agreement must be concluded in the form of a notarized (solemnized) document.
When confirming (solemnizing) the contract, the notary public is obliged to warn the contractors in particular that the property subject to the contract is not in the legacy of the recipient of maintenance and that its necessary heirs cannot be covered by it, as stated in the confirmation clause. Otherwise, the contract is void.