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Seanad to debate law on management of missing persons' estates

Fine Gael senator Colm Burke said the legislation would provide clarity for the families of those who have gone missing.

Image: crowd of people via Shutterstock

FINE GAEL SENATOR Colm Burke has called on all senators to support the introduction of legislation that would help families of missing persons to deal with the management of their estate.

Burke, who is a senator for Cork North Central, was speaking ahead of a debate tomorrow in the Seanad on his Civil Law (Missing Persons) Bill 2013, which was published this year.

The bill would allow for the making of a presumption of death order in respect of two catagories of missing persons – where death is virtually certain and in cases where the length of the disappearance indicates the person has died and will not return.

7,000 missing person reports a year

“The records of the Missing Persons Bureau of An Garda Síochána show that almost 20 people are reported missing every day; amounting to over 7,000 missing person reports annually,” he said today. “While in the vast majority of cases the person who has been thought to be missing turns up safe, unfortunately some do not.”

As the law presently stands, in cases where a person remains missing, and it is clear from all evidence available that they have died, there is no legal procedure available to allow for their estate to be managed

Burke said the intention is to clarify the legal position as to who is entitled to apply for an interim manager to be appointed to manage the missing person’s estate and what procedures must be complied with before the courts will issue a Presumption of Death Order. This person could be the spouse, civil partner or co-habitant of the missing person or another family member.

It will be an important first step in assisting families who have found themselves in very difficult circumstances,” the senator added.

The government will be accepting Senator Burke’s bill.

Related: Shatter confirms date for Missing Persons Day, following campaign by Mallow students>

Read: Report recommends new laws on missing persons and the Disappeared>

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