Missing Persons’ Law

Every year around one hundred and eighty thousand people are reported missing in the UK. Most of these people are found within a few days or weeks, but some people remain missing indefinitely. In fact, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds according to charity Missing People.

If you are a family member of a missing person, we understand just how incredibly difficult a position you’re in. Not only are you dealing with the grief of a loved one being missing, there are also a whole host of challenging practicalities to deal with.

What practicalities will need to be dealt with?

When someone goes missing unexpectedly, they often leave behind unresolved personal affairs. Their partner, parents, siblings or children usually need to manage these practicalities, but it can be difficult for them to gain the legal right to do this.

Family members are often left trying to manage things such as:

What legal rights do you have as the next of kin of a missing person?

When a person goes missing, their next of kin and other family members do not automatically have any legal rights over their affairs.

If you’re in this position, the best thing to do is to speak to a solicitor about the best course of action. Currently, there are two options for you to consider.

Presumption of Death

A Declaration of Presumed Death is a legal document that gives the family of a missing person the legal right to administer their estate. It can also provide much needed closure and allow family members to move on with their lives. Family members can apply for a Declaration of Presumed Death once someone has been missing for seven years or if there is clear evidence that they are no longer living.

Find Out More


This is a new law that is expected to come into force in July 2018. Family members of a missing person will be able to apply for a Guardianship Order to enable them to manage the affairs of the missing person in that person’s best interest, either until the missing person is found or it becomes possible to apply for a Declaration of Presumed Death.

Find Out More

Need further assistance?

Our solicitors will always be happy to discuss your legal needs with you.

Contact us today