Guide to Probate for a Missing Person’s Estate

A Probate Attorney in Miami’s Guide to Probate for a Missing Person’s Estate

The death of someone close to you can be unbearable. However, what is even worse is when your loved one goes missing. If his or her body isn’t recovered, it can be hard to grieve and move on. The law in Florida has a number of rules regarding the estate of missing persons. Those family members who survive are, therefore, able to complete their mourning process. They are able to declare their missing loved one dead. This allows them to move on. However, what happens with regard to their loved one’s estate? Is probate even possible in such circumstances? A probate attorney in Miami FL provides this guide that will help you learn what happens in such a difficult situation.

A Declaration of Fictitious Death

Before being able to probate the estate of a missing person, the law must first declare him or her to be fictitiously dead. Under Florida law, this applies to someone who remains absent from his or her last-known domicile over five continuous years. There is no explanation for his or her absence and the police have carried out a search. Then, he or she is presumed dead under the law.

There are some circumstances in which the court can declare someone who is missing as dead before five years. This occurs in any case where the missing person may have likely been exposed to life-threatening danger. For example, the person who is missing was suicidal or in a poor state of health. In this situation, the law presumes the missing person is dead from the day that dangerous circumstance occurred.

Obtaining the Presumptive Death Certificate

In order to get the presumptive death certificate, it is necessary to follow certain procedures. It is necessary to file the petition that declares the missing person to be dead. Someone must file this petition with the Florida county probate court where the missing person lived. A person can file in any county if the missing person wasn’t a Florida resident when he or she disappeared. To establish death, circumstantial or direct evidence is necessary. This will be considered on a case-by-case basis in evidentiary hearings. As soon as the probate court has declared the missing person to be dead, it will issue an order. This allows the state Department of Health to file a presumptive death certificate. The department will enter the order. Then, the court will be able to start the probate proceedings.

State law says any interested persons can petition to administer the missing person’s estate. However, they cannot appoint a personal representative until the court has determined that the person who is missing is dead.

What Do I Do If I Have A Missing Relative?

Should you find yourself in this tragic situation, it’s vital to seek guidance from the best probate attorney. It is never easy to deal with the consequences of a missing loved one. However, you can obtain the best advice from a skilled and knowledgeable probate attorney in Miami. You can obtain the information you need to file a petition to the court. You can also find out more about how to commence probate proceedings for your missing family member.

Our knowledgeable team will give you professional legal advice regarding your missing loved one’s estate. As an estate planning attorney in Miami, you can expect the highest level of understanding and client care from us. Call today to find out more about how to start the process of probate for a missing person’s estate. Our probate attorney Miami team is here to help and give you the advice that you need.

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