News | Legal News

17 July 2019

Claudia’s Law to come into effect on 31 July 2019

The government have confirmed that ‘Claudia's Law’ will come into effect on 31 July 2019. Officially known as the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act, the law creates a legal status of the guardian of the affairs of a loved one missing for over 90 days.

Previously, when someone went missing, their family had no legal right to manage their financial affairs unless they declared them dead.

The new legislation, named after Claudia Lawrence, who went missing in 2009, means that families can step in and protect their loved one’s assets in their absence – such as deferring direct debits or making mortgage payments.

Successful applicants for the guardian role will be able to look after their loved one’s affairs for up to four years with the option to renew. Applications will be via the High court and once appointed, Guardians will be supervised by the Office of the Public Guardian.

Justice Minister Paul Maynard said:

“No family dealing with the despair of a loved one going missing should have to endure the additional stresses of administrative problems.

“This government is committed to helping families cope as best they can in these incredibly difficult circumstances and today’s legislation is an important part in that.

“Claudia’s law will mean families can oversee the financial and property affairs of their missing loved one – removing a huge burden at such a traumatic time.”

Sharon Heselton, senior associate in the wills, trusts and probate team, commented:

“This is a very welcome change in the law. Previously families in England and Wales couldn’t protect the affairs of a missing person unless they declared them dead. This would have added a huge amount of stress during an already tough time.”

For further information, please contact sharon.heselton@bpcollins.co.uk or call 01753 279000.

Sharon Heselton

Sharon Heselton

Tel: 01753 279000

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