Thu, Jan. 06, 2005

Administrative Issues for Missing Persons

CK - Washington.   The legal issues involving missing persons gained prominence with the tsunami catastrophe in South East Asia. The Federal Department of Justice in Berlin issued a press release, entitled Allgemeine rechtliche Hinweise zu den Folgen der Flutkatastrophe, on the topic today. It is intended to provide general guidance on the procedures and legal effects in such situations.

Generally, a missing person may be declared deceased for legal purposes after the expiration of one year from the event that placed the life of the person in great danger. Before such a declaration issues, protective measures for the assets of the missing person may be sought through guardianship procedures who would be authorized, for instance, to stop pre-authorized banking transactions to utilities, for services no longer needed, or subscriptions that should expire. The Department advises the life insurance carriers have expressed interest in special accommodations for the relatives of missing persons.

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