Families of missing people, including that of York chef Claudia Lawrence, will be given help to cope with the complex legal and financial issues they face.
The Government will be supporting a Private Members Bill which will introduce a presumption of death certificate.
The Bill introduced by John Glen MP, follows an announcement earlier this year of plans to simplify the law around the affairs of those who are missing presumed dead.
The presumption of death certificate will be equivalent to a death certificate in its legal power.
Having the certificate will help families deal with different aspects of the affairs of the missing person, such as existing direct debits or access to bank accounts.
– Justice Minister Helen Grant
This is a terrible situation that no family should have to go through. No-one can prepare for the heartache and confusion when a loved one disappears with no trace.
The existing system is convoluted and an additional nightmare for families to overcome. That is why we are changing the law and making the process much more straightforward.
The changes will create a simple legal framework to ensure bereaved people can deal with the property and affairs of a loved one who has gone missing and is presumed dead.
– Nicola Sharp, Director of Policy and Advocacy for Missing People
Missing People is delighted by this timely announcement from the MoJ backing John Glen's Private Member's Bill. The charity has been campaigning to end the unnecessary heartache faced by families when they seek to have a loved one legally presumed dead and today's announcement will be welcomed by them.