Challenge a presumption of death claim

You can challenge (‘intervene in’) or apply to challenge a presumption of death claim, if you think one of the following is true:

  • the claim is not valid, for example the person making the claim is not a close relative of the missing person or someone who can prove that they’ve a right to make a claim
  • the information in the claim is wrong, for example the missing person is not dead or died on a different day
  • the court should make an additional order, for example about the missing person’s property

When you can challenge

You can challenge the claim up to 21 days from the date you received notification or the date it was advertised in the newspaper.


Read the fees guidance to find out how much you might have to pay. Read the exemptions leaflet to find out when you might not have to pay.

Challenge the claim

Use the acknowledgement of service form you were sent if you were notified of the claim, for example because you’re a relative of the missing person.

If you were not notified, the advert will tell you where to send an application for permission to challenge the claim.

What you need to provide

Include your:

  • name and address
  • relationship to the missing person or other interest in the claim
  • reasons for challenging
  • details of any other order you want the court to make, for example about property owned by the missing person

Send your forms

Send a copy of your challenge to both of the following:

  • the person who notified you, or who is named in the advert
  • the court named in the form or advert

The address is on the form or in the advert.

Attend a hearing

You’ll have to attend a hearing with a High Court judge - this should be within 2 months of the claim being made.

There might be more than one hearing, depending on the circumstances.

Appeal a decision

Contact the Civil Appeals Office to appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Civil Appeals Office
Telephone: 0207 947 7121
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Find out about call charges

Civil Appeals Office
Room E307
Royal Courts of Justice
The Strand

Make a complaint

Read the complaints procedure if you’re not happy with the way you’ve been treated.