COVID-19 ➲ The Australian Legal Response

What can I do if COVID-19 restrictions are making it impossible to execute my Australian Will or other key estate planning documents?

COVID-19 Emergency measures for the witnessing of Australian Wills+

As an emergency response to COVID-19 some states + territories have temporarily relaxed witnessing requirements for Wills + other key documents.

The relaxations allow remote witnessing using an audio-video link (AVL) over the internet. We strongly recommend they only be used as a last resort with the involvement of your lawyer. Practical COVID-Safe alternatives such as "Will through a window!" are preferred.

See our recent blog article "COVID-19 Safe Solutions for Witnessing Wills + Other Key Documents in Australia" for more information.

Credits:

This FAQ was written by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.

What is the current situation with respect to the temporary COVID-19 debt relief measures?

Temporary debt relief measures ended on 1 January 2021

As of 1 January 2021, temporary legislative changes implemented due to COVID-19 ceased, and the following changes apply for individuals and companies:

For individuals

⚖️ The minimum debt threshold for creditors to apply for a bankruptcy notice against an individual has reduced from the temporary amount of $20,000 to the new permanent amount of $10,000.

⚖️ The timeframe for a debtor to respond to a bankruptcy notice has reverted to 21 days. This means if a bankruptcy notice is issued on or after 1 January 2021, the debtor will have 21 days to respond.

⚖️ The period for temporary debt protection for debtors has reverted to 21 days.

⚖️ For more information, see the Australian Financial Security Authority.

For companies

⚖️ The minimum debt threshold for creditors to issue a statutory demand against a company has reverted to $2,000.  

⚖️ The timeframe for a debtor to respond to a statutory demand has reverted to 21 days.

This means if a statutory demand is issued on or after 1 January 2021, the debtor will have 21 days to respond.

⚖️ For more information, see Insolvency reforms to support small business.

If you receive a bankruptcy notice or statutory demand, you should seek independent legal advice or contact a financial counsellor.

Source: ACCC Debt Collection Guideline for Collectors & Creditors.