When a person goes missing they are presumed, under the current law, to be alive until the contrary is proved. This has previously left many families with financial problems, which adds to the trauma caused by the disappearance of a loved one. An unexplained lengthy absence of a missing person can also cause problems for businesses and institutions, such as banks, who hold the missing person’s assets and are constrained by their responsibilities to the missing person.
The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 creates a new legal framework for those left behind to secure the appointment of a trusted person to use and look after the property and financial affairs of the person who is missing.
This guidance will help families and friends of the missing people consider whether guardianship is the best course for them, and if it is, how to make applications, give existing guardians confidence to make decisions, and ensure organisations have regard to the regulations when dealing with guardians..
Applicants, guardians and organisations should have due regard for this Code of Practice.