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Presumption of death law to be introduced

The government has today (2 November 2012) expressed its support for a new law for missing persons that will introduce a presumption of death certificate.

2 November 2012

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Justice Minister Helen Grant said that the government will be supporting a Private Members Bill introduced by John Glen, MP for Salisbury, to simplify the law around the affairs of those who are missing presumed dead.

The new legislation will include the introduction of a presumption of death certificate, which will be equivalent to a death certificate in its legal power and will help to simplify the processes and problems faced by families left behind. Having the certificate will help families deal with different aspects of the affairs of the missing person, such as existing direct debits or access to bank accounts.

Justice Minister Helen Grant said: “This is a terrible situation that no family should have to go through. No one can prepare for the heartache and confusion when a loved one disappears with no trace.

“The existing system is convoluted and an additional nightmare for families to overcome. That is why we are changing the law and making the process much more straightforward.

“The changes will create a simple legal framework to ensure bereaved people can deal with the property and affairs of a loved one who has gone missing and is presumed dead,” said Grant.

Nicola Sharp, director of policy and advocacy for Missing People, welcomed the move. “I am delighted by this timely announcement from the Ministry of Justice. The charity has been campaigning to end the unnecessary heartache faced by families when they seek to have a loved one legally presumed dead and today’s announcement will be welcomed by them.”

For more on the new presumption of death law, see the forthcoming December/January issue of Private Client Adviser

Categorised in:

Wills, Trusts & Probate