A campaign to change the law affecting missing people is a step nearer according to Huddersfield solicitor Sarah Young, following a joint APPG (All Party Parliamentary Groups) round table meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday 28th October 2014.
Partner Sarah Young of Ridley & Hall Solicitors was invited to speak at the event by the charity Missing People. The APPG for missing and runaway children and adults, together with the APPG for insurance and financial services, arranged the round table meeting following the introduction of the Presumption of Death Act 2013 which came into force on 1st October 2014. Sarah Young explains: -
“The Presumption of Death Act should make it an easier and quicker process for families to deal with a missing person’s affairs once it has been accepted that they are presumed dead. But the Act doesn’t help families who want to manage the financial and legal problems that arise when someone is missing, and it is hoped that they may return”. She goes on to say: -
“The charity Missing People has been campaigning since 2010 for a new guardianship system to be introduced to give families the legal right to manage a missing person’s affairs. This could help to prevent legal action for unpaid bills and properties being repossessed”.
An obvious concern if a guardian is to be appointed is the extent to which they should be allowed to act for the missing person and what would happen if the missing person turned up. These issues and others were aired at the round table discussion. Sarah Young is optimistic: -
“It was very heartening that there was a broad consensus from those representing insurers, banks and the families of missing people that a system of guardianship should and could be introduced. A Ministry of Justice consultation ends on 18th November and after that I hope that the government will be persuaded of the need to introduce primary legislation to help families at what is a desperately difficult time in their lives.”
Sarah Young is a Partner with Ridley & Hall Solicitors in Huddersfield. She specialises in contentious probate cases and has a particular interest in cases involving missing people and supports the work being done by the charity Missing People.
For further information please contact Sarah Young of Ridley and Hall, Queens House, 35 Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2HL on her direct dial 01484 558838 or her mobile 07860 165850.