Estate liquidation is booming in Australia, with the industry now worth $17 billion and accounting for more than one-third of all business.
The number of estate liquidations has increased by almost 40 per cent in the past two years, and a whopping 70 per cent of people are now seeking help.
It is no surprise that people are searching for legal advice, as it is now easier to find a family member, friend or neighbour willing to help them in the run-up to their funeral.
“It’s a very tough time for people and they are desperate for help,” said Andrew, a retired accountant from Melbourne who has been looking for legal help for over a year.
He said he had a close friend who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
“We’ve all known each other for a long time, but now that she has cancer, we don’t know if we can call each other back, and we have to work through the process ourselves,” he said.
“I have been contacted by friends and family, and they have offered me help but it’s still not enough.”
My friend, who was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple of years ago, has also contacted me to make arrangements for a funeral.
“The rise in legal aid was driven in part by a rising number of people applying for legal aid to get rid of property in the wake of the recent coronavillirus pandemic.”
People are not seeking legal advice to get out of a debt or to find help to get on with their lives,” said legal aid lawyer Sarah Fenton.”
They are seeking legal aid because they have a problem that has nothing to do with the estate.
“There are now a record number of estates liquidating in Australia – and with that comes an increase in the number of requests for legal assistance.”
For people that are experiencing difficulties, or they are not in a financial position to deal with it themselves, there are some other options that they have available to them,” Ms Fenton said.
The rise is due to a new coronavivirus model introduced in Queensland last year that means that people cannot be charged more than $250,000 in legal fees.
This is a far cry from the $2,500-a-day estate liquidation fees that were common in the early days of the pandemic, which hit Australia in September last year.”
This is just another way that the system has failed to provide enough legal assistance to those people,” Ms Henton said, adding that it is a system that is failing to take advantage of those people.”
There’s been an enormous amount of money spent on legal aid for the last couple of weeks and people have been left struggling,” she said.
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