Presumption of Death

Presumption of Death – New Rules

New laws will give relatives of missing people help to deal with their loved ones’ affairs.

The Presumption of Death Act, passed in March 2013, means relatives can apply for a certificate declaring someone as presumed dead.

The certificate will be equivalent to a death certificate and means those left behind can deal with the legal and financial affairs of the missing person – for example enabling them to stop direct debits and other outgoings.

The changes apply to England and Wales – bringing them into line with Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Justice Minister Helen Grant said:

‘No-one can prepare for the heartache and confusion when a loved one disappears with no trace.

‘The certificate of presumed death that we are introducing is a significant step forward for families who face the terrible situation of losing a loved one and creates a simpler legal framework to ensure bereaved people can better deal with the property and affairs of a loved one who has gone missing and is presumed dead.’

The Presumption of Death Bill was introduced by John Glen, MP for Salisbury, and supported by the Government. It follows plans announced by the Ministry of Justice in July 2012 to simplify the law around the affairs of those who are missing presumed dead.

Presumption of Death Act 2013.

  1. Introductory Text
  2. Declaration of presumed death
    1. 1.Applying for declaration
    2. 2.Making declaration
    3. 3.Effect of declaration
    4. 4.Other powers of court making declaration
  3. Variation order
    1. 5.Varying and revoking declaration
    2. 6.Effect of variation order
    3. 7.Other functions of court making variation order
    4. 8.Principles
  4. Further provision about declarations and orders
    1. 9.Giving notice of application
    2. 10.Attorney General
    3. 11.Right to intervene
    4. 12.Information
    5. 13.Insurance against claims: trustees
    6. 14.Insurance against claims: insurers paying capital sums
  5. Register of Presumed Deaths
    1. 15.Register of Presumed Deaths
  6. Other determinations
    1. 16.Other determinations about death of missing person
  7. Supplementary
    1. 17.Power to amend periods of time
    2. 18.Consequential and supplementary etc provision
    3. 19.Regulations
    4. 20.Interpretation
    5. 21.Application to Crown
    6. 22.Commencement
    7. 23.Extent
    8. 24.Short title
    1. Schedule 1

      Register of Presumed Deaths

    2. Schedule 2

      Amendment of provisions about presumption of death