presumption of death certificate

Lord Lucan mystery subject of new TV drama

A new two-part TV drama is set to examine the mystery of the disappearance of Lord Lucan, in 1974.

The aristocrat was known to be somewhat of a playboy, giving up his job as a merchant banker and becoming what he termed to be a “professional gambler”.

Lord Lucan loved the high life and his own life was said to be so like that of James Bond, that he was even once considered for the role.

It was in 1972, after he had separated from his wife and lost a custody battle that suspicions began to form about his character. The Lord apparently became obsessed with trying to regain his children, even resorting to bugging telephone conversations.

During this time, Lord Lucan undoubtedly continued to gamble and it seemed that his personal finances were in a dreadful state. Finally, it was on 7 November 1974 that Lady Lucan was attacked at home and the children’s nanny was murdered. Lady Lucan identified her estranged husband as the attacker.

After visiting a friend’s house, his car was found abandoned, with blood stains and a piece of bandaged lead pipe inside.

Although a warrant was issued for his arrest and the inquest named him as the murderer, Lucan was never seen again. He was officially declared dead in 1999, but a death certificate has never been issued, turning this sequence of events one of the biggest mysteries of the twentieth century.

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.

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