Claudia’s Law Comes into Force
Today marks the introduction of The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017, informally known as Claudia’s Law, to provide assistance to applicants, guardians, organisations and courts when dealing with the affairs of a missing person.
Up until now, families have only been able to take control of a missing loved one’s financial affairs if they have been declared as deceased. This has resulted in families facing financial and administrative burdens at an already traumatic and stressful time.
Claudia’s Law will allow families to act in the best interests of the missing person if they have been missing in the UK or abroad for 90 days or more and are unable to make decisions in regards to their property or financial affairs. It will mean families can safeguard their loved one’s assets, for example suspending direct debit payments for utility bills or making mortgage payments to prevent repossessions or insolvency.
Applications for guardianship must be made to the High Court and if successful, will be overseen by the Office of the Public Guardian.
Named after Claudia Lawrence who went missing in 2009, the new provision was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by Kevin Hollinrake MP and backed by Claudia’s father Peter Lawrence OBE, who has been tirelessly campaigning for the change since her disappearance, together with the charity Missing People and other families affected.
For legal advice about a loved one’s affairs when they are unable to make decisions themselves, please contact our specialist solicitors by calling 01225 485700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org