The Civil Law (Presumption of Death) Bill provides for the establishment of a register of presumed deaths – allowing the families of missing people to declare them as dead. This means that families will no longer have to wait seven years to deal with estates.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The families of missing persons often feel like they are living in limbo. I hope that the bill we have passed today will give them some measure of much-needed closure by enabling them to put the affairs of their missing loved ones in order.”
Settlement of affairs
The bill will allow the families of missing people to apply for a ‘presumption of death order’. This order has the same effect in law as the registration of a death under the Civil Registration Act 2004. It means that the estate of the missing person can be administered and their financial and property affairs can be settled.
The bill also provides that a presumption of death order has the effect of bringing a marriage or civil partnership with the missing person to an end.
The bill had cross-party support. The minister acknowledged “the positive and collaborative approach” taken in its passing.