In a similar vein to our “Help! My Executor has gone missing!” article in June, the Law Society has recently published a piece on needing to manage or protect the property or financial assets of a missing person.
The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 received Royal assent earlier this year, creating a new legal method of dealing with the property and financial affairs of a missing person. It is expected that it will come into effect later this year.
In reference to Claudia Lawrence, who went missing in 2009, The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 is informally referred to as Claudia’s Law and makes provision for a Court to appoint a Guardian for a missing person in respect of their property and financial affairs. The Guardian would be able to manage the missing person’s money and property in the best interests of the missing person and their dependants.
Section 1 of the Act defines “missing” as “a person is missing if absent from his or her usual place of residence and day-to-day activities, and either:-
i) The person’s whereabouts are not known at all, or are not known with sufficient precision to enable the person to be contacted for the purposes of decisions relating to his or her property and financial affairs; or
ii) The person is unable to make decisions relating to his or her property and financial affairs or to communicate such decisions with a view to their implementation (or both), and the reason for that is something beyond the person’s control, other than illness, injury or lack of capacity in relation to a matter
The Ministry of Justice anticipate between 50 and 100 applications a year for a Guardianship Order, which could cost in excess of £4,000.
Whilst hopefully never needing a Guardianship Order, it is always better to be prepared in the event of being unable to deal with your own affairs. Call a member of our Probate Team today to discuss setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney because the best legacy you can leave is peace of mind.
Feona L Horton