Changes to presumption of death certificates
The Ministry of Justice is to back legislation making presumption of death certificates available much earlier, to allow families to deal with any pressing legal and financial issues during the time when their loved one is missing.
Currently, in England and Wales, someone must be missing for seven years before it is formally presumed that they are dead. It is thought that the bill, which is set to be presented in the autumn, will reduce the time needed to wait until death can be presumed, by around three years.
There are concerns however, that these changes could of course result in an increase in the number of fraudulent cases of missing persons, in an attempt to claim insurance.
For many families however, these reforms could mean that the uncertainty felt by loved ones for several years whilst the search effort wanes; and finances and legal issues remain outstanding, is reduced.