New legislation ‘Claudia’s law’ has been welcomed by a leading lawyer after statistics show an 18% rise in the number of reported missing persons year-on-year*.

The new law which came into effect on 31st July 2019, named after Chef Claudia Lawrence who disappeared in North Yorkshire, 2009 allows a guardian to be appointed to manage the financial affairs of a person who has been missing for at least 90 days. It also can be applied to individuals who have been kidnapped, held hostage or are being held in prison abroad.

“In these situations, families are dealing with high-levels of emotional stress and a sense of helplessness, not only regarding the safety of their loved ones, but also by not being in a position to maintain and manage financial affairs whilst their family member is missing.”

Tasoula Addison, Wills, Trusts & Probate
Gorvins Solicitors

This is a huge change in practice; previously the only way to manage a missing person’s finances was to declare them ‘presumed dead’ under the Presumption of Death Act 2013, which can be an extremely difficult decision for a family to make in emotionally-charged circumstances. This may also have taken up to seven years before probate could be dealt with, with finances and assets frozen and unable to be touched.

Tasoula Addison, Gorvins Solicitors

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