The financial and administrative burdens faced by families of missing loved ones will be eased after legislation has recently been laid to pave the way for ‘Claudia’s Law’.
Named after Claudia Lawrence who went missing in 2009, the law creates a new legal status of guardian of the affairs of a missing person, allowing families to act in their best interests after they have been gone for 90 days or longer.
It will mean that families can apply to the Court to act as Guardian and will then be authorised to step in and safeguard their loved one’s assets in their absence. This can include for example, dealing with utility accounts, suspending direct debits or even making mortgage payments.
Previously there was no facility in England and Wales to specifically protect the property and affairs of a missing person unless that person was officially declared dead which, of course, only adds emotional pressure to families during an already difficult time. This also meant that families could be left unable to pay debts or deal with insolvency or repossessions until their loved one was officially declared dead.
Officially known as The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017, the new provisions will come into force on 31st July 2019.
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