Missing Persons’ Law
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.
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.