The principals and staff at Hunt & Hunt are deeply saddened by the bushfires that have caused massive destruction across parts of our country. Our thoughts are with those who live and work in the devastated areas, and with the selfless volunteers who have been battling the fires and providing assistance to the communities affected.
Things you need to consider if you have been affected by the bushfires
Many legal issues can arise due to the impact of the bushfires. Those issues can include:
- the loss of identity documents, such as passports, drivers licences, Medicare cards, birth certificates and marriage certificates;
- Wills, Powers of Attorney, Appointments of Medical Treatment Decision Maker and may have been destroyed;
- the need to deal with the affairs of a person who has died during the bushfires;
- Certificates of Title to property may have been destroyed;
- trust deeds for family trusts or superannuation funds may have been destroyed;
- insurance claims and disputes resulting from the loss of property;
- tenancy issues, whether you are a landlord or a tenant; and
- financial hardship from loss of income (whether due to unemployment or your business being damaged), debt, relocation and the cost of re-establishing yourself after the fires.
How we can help
Hunt & Hunt are able to provide pro bono legal assistance in some cases.
Our team are experienced in many areas and are able to provide advice concerning the majority of the above issues.
In particular, our wills and estates team and our property team are able to provide extensive advice and assistance in:
- preparing replacement Wills, Powers of Attorney and Appointments of Medical Treatment Decision Maker;
- the replacement of other identity documents;
- dealing with state Civil and Administrative Tribunals for a person who no longer has the capacity to make their own decisions (if no Power of Attorney is in place or if it has been destroyed);
- estate administration including Applications for Probate or Letters of Administration including obtaining Probate of a copy of a Will if necessary;
- making an application to the Supreme Court for a court-ordered Will where a person no longer has capacity to make their own will and it has been destroyed;
- issues relating to the loss of trust deeds and self-managed superannuation funds deeds, and if need be, an application to the Court for a new deed;
- arranging for the replacement of Certificates of Title for land; and
- all other general issues relating to real estate.
Every person’s circumstances will be different and the advice given here is of a general nature. Please contact us to discuss how we can help and to obtain specific advice relevant to your circumstances.
Other ways to seek help
In Victoria, assistance is available via Disaster Legal Help, whose partners are Victoria Legal Aid, the Federation of Community Legal Centres, Justice Connect, the Victoria Bar and the Law Institute of Victoria.
Many lawyers, including members of Hunt & Hunt, have registered to participate in the program.
You can access Disaster Legal Help by telephoning 1800 113 432 or by accessing their website: www.disasterlegalhelp.org.au
New South Wales
In New South Wales, legal assistance is available via the Disaster Response Legal Service NSW, a partnership between Legal Aid NSW, community legal centres, the Law Society of NSW and the NSW Bar Association.
You can contact the Disaster Response Legal Service NSW hotline on 1800 801 529.
Lost identification documents can be replaced through Service NSW. Service NSW will have mobile centres servicing bushfire affected communities. Please check service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/mobile-service-centres for locations.
Contact the Legal Services Commission of South Australia on 1300 366 424 or the Law Society of South Australia on 08 8229 0200.
Legal Aid Queensland has set up a Bushfire Legal Help line. Contact them on 1300 004 924 for support.
Contact Law Access WA on 08 6488 6813 or Legal Aid WA via their website.