Every year approximately 250,000 people in the UK are reported missing. Whilst many are found relatively quickly, other disappearances continue for prolonged periods, leaving family members to cope with the pain of their loss and possible financial difficulties.
Lund Bennett’s Managing Director, Kirsten Bennett, has vast experience working in this area and regularly acts for families left behind. Speak to Kirsten and our team in confidence by calling 0161 924 0079, or send us a message via our contact form. We will get back to you as soon as possible.
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A missing person is “anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established and where the circumstances are out of character or the context suggests the person may be subject of crime or risk of harm to themselves or another” (Police.uk).
You call 101 to report a missing person. There is no waiting period. However, if you are concerned that the person could be harmed imminently, notify the police by calling 999.
When reporting someone as missing, the police may ask you for the following information:
- Any printed or digital pictures
- Details about their family or friends
- Details about frequented places like their place of work, school, university etc.
- Any medical conditions
They may also ask you to obtain a DNA sample, i.e. any hair from hairbrushes or a toothbrush. Most of the time, information about the missing person will be available to police forces across the UK within 48 hours from making a report.
You do not automatically get granted legal rights over the missing person’s property, finances or other affairs, even if you are related. Your best option is to consult with a solicitor with specialist knowledge about Missing People cases and enquire about obtaining a Declaration of Presumed Death or a Guardianship Order.
Kirsten Bennett, MD at Lund Bennett Law, has vast experience working in this area and regularly acts for families left behind. Get in touch with Kirsten on 0161 924 0079 to discuss your case.
In October 2014, a new piece of legislation came into force called the Presumption of Death Act 2013. This introduced into England and Wales a new court-based procedure enabling those left behind to obtain a declaration that the missing person is deemed to have died.
Once a declaration is made, the General Register Office enters the declaration onto a Register of Presumed Deaths. A certified copy of the entry is the equivalent to a ‘death certificate’ and can be used for all purposes, for example, dealing with joint property.
Since the Presumption of Death Act was introduced, there have been further developments in this area. The Ministry of Justice, in March 2015, announced its plans to introduce a new legal status of guardian of the property and affairs of a missing person.
In July 2019, the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 came into force which created the new legal status for someone to become a guardian of affairs of a missing person. This enables the guardian to manage any affairs of the missing person.
To obtain a guardianship order, you will need to apply to the High Court, providing the person has been missing for at least 90 days.
Our Managing Director, Kirsten Bennett, is an expert in this area of family law. Kirsten regularly represents families of missing people. She has also published articles relating to the law on presumption of death and assisted in the successful campaign for a change in the law.
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