Get a declaration of presumed death

Advertise your claim in a newspaper

You must advertise your application in a newspaper local to the missing person’s last known address.

Place the advert within 7 days of the issue date stamped on the claim form.

Use standard text for the advert

Use the following text and make sure you:

  • put your case number after the words case number
  • replace or delete as appropriate the words in square brackets with the relevant details

Standard text

“In the High Court of Justice [Chancery] [Family] Division

Case number.

In the matter of an application for a declaration of the presumed death of [insert the missing person’s name].

A claim has been issued in the High Court of Justice, for a declaration that [insert missing person’s name] whose last known address was [insert missing person’s address] is presumed to be dead. Any person having an interest may apply to the court to intervene in the matter.

If you wish to apply to the court, you should do so at [court address] as soon as possible, and if possible within 21 days of the date of this notice. Delay may harm your prospects of being able to intervene.

(If the claimant is legally represented)
[Name of the claimant’s legal representative]
[Address of the claimant’s legal representative]
(If the claimant is not legally represented)
[Claimant’s address for service]”

Send a copy to the court

Send the court a copy of the newspaper page showing the advertisement so it arrives at least 5 days before your court hearing.

  1. Step 1 Register the death

    Ask the GP or hospital doctor for a medical certificate. You'll need this to register the death.

    1. Register the death within 5 days

    Check what to do if:

    To stop or change benefits payments you can tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about the death straight away.

  2. Step 2 Arrange the funeral

    When you register the death you’ll get a 'certificate for a burial' to give to the funeral director, or an application for cremation which you need to complete and give to the crematorium. You must do one of these before the funeral can take place.

    1. Arrange the funeral
    2. Find bereavement services from your local council
    3. Get help paying for a funeral
  3. Step 3 Tell government someone died

    The Tell Us Once service allows you to inform all the relevant government departments when someone dies.

    1. Use the Tell Us Once service to tell government
    2. If Tell Us Once is not available in your area tell government yourself

    You'll also need to tell banks, utility companies and landlords yourself.

  4. Step 4 Check if you can get bereavement benefits

  5. and Deal with your own benefits, pension and taxes

    Your tax, benefit claims and pension might change depending on your relationship with the person who died.

    1. Manage your tax, pensions and benefits if your spouse has died
    2. Check how benefits are affected if a child dies
  6. Step 5 Deal with their estate

    You might have to deal with the will, money and property of the person who's died if you're a close friend or relative, or the executor of the will.

    1. Check what to do about wills, probate and inheritance
    2. Update property records