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The new Guardian (Missing Persons) Act 2017

View profile for Lisa Cox
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Approximately 250,000 people go missing each year in England and Wales. Around 1% of those are missing for over a year. In this time, the person’s assets may dissipate, their property may fall into disrepair and any dependents of the missing person may face financial and legal difficulties.  
 
Currently, families of a missing person have to wait at least 7 years, or provide proof that the missing person is thought to have died, before they can apply for a “Declaration of Presumed Dead” to deal with their affairs.  
 
The government has sought to alleviate some of the stress faced by families of a missing person by introducing the Guardian (Missing Persons) Act, which is hoped to be in force by July 2019. The Act will enable an appointed guardian of the missing person to deal with a missing person’s financial and property affairs, including allowing them to:-
  • Access the missing person’s bank accounts;
  • Authorise mortgage and insurance payments;
  • Sell or rent a property on behalf of the missing person;
  • Make investments; and
  • Pay for any dependents of the missing person.
 
If you would like to be kept informed of any updates on the new Act, or would like any further information on being appointed as a guardian, please contact our specialist Court of Protection team on 01206 217609.