After 7 years, where a missing person has died or has not been known alive, the High Court must declare that a missing person is presumed to have died at a particular date and time. This will be done in a single declaration, effective against all persons and for all purposes.
The Act allows some closure for people affected by such a tragic event. A Certificate of Presumed Death will mean that any marriage or civil partnership will be ended and so property can be inherited under the missing person's will or intestacy. Also steps can be taken to administer the person’s estate, obtain probate and for example close bank accounts, encash life policies and sell property.