Missing persons and presumption of death
Missing persons and presumption of death

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Missing persons and presumption of death
  • Tracing the missing person
  • Guardianship provisions
  • Presumption of death

The disappearance of a person does not automatically enable others to take control of that person's affairs or their property ownership. That can create immense difficulties if, for instance, a property is owned by them solely or with others whether as joint tenants or tenants in common. With an indication of death but an inability to obtain a death certificate the person will, for all legal purposes, be deemed to be alive. Those left behind have the choice of trying to trace the missing person or attempting to prove that they are, or likely to be, dead.

Tracing the missing person

Tracing a missing person is the first step. All necessary enquiries will have to be made to endeavour to prove that the missing person is likely to be dead rather than