in Professional in Payroll, Pensions & Reward
Where a pension scheme member has been missing for a number of years, at what stage might it be possible for the member to be presumed dead?
Historically, this area has been a bit of a minefield. There has long been a common law provision that would allow a Court to assume a person to be dead when there has been no evidence of his or her continued existence for seven years.
It has also been possible to make an application under The Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987 [SI 1987 / 2024] for leave to swear to the death of a person. Under this approach, there is no need to wait for seven years, however where such leave is granted, the Court is not making any presumption of death but merely giving the applicant the opportunity to swear to the death as a pre-condition for obtaining a grant of probate.
Then there was Section 19 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 and Section 37 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004, which allowed a Court to dissolve a marriage or civil partnership on grounds that one of the parties is presumed to be dead.
Overall, then, this area had long been a hodgepodge of common law and statutory provisions with no single codified approach.
Fortunately, this changed for England and Wales from 1 October 2014 when the Presumption of Death Act 2013 ('the Act') came into force. This Act allows a missing person's spouse, civil partner, parent, child or sibling (or any other party with a sufficient interest) to apply to the High Court for the Court to make a Presumption of Death Order. . . .
Apr 2019 Read the full article