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New guardian status to aid missing people

A solicitor has welcomed the news that the Government is considering introducing a new type of legal guardian to allow people to take care of the property and affairs of a missing person.

Helen Lucking, partner in the Family team at Napthens solicitors, reports that the Ministry of Justice is consulting on plans to create the new role, which would allow a guardian to, for instance, suspend direct debits or make mortgage payments.

The plans, which are open to consultation until November 18, would enable an interested person – a friend or relative, for example – to apply to court after a person has been missing for at least 90 days.

Helen welcomed the move. She said: “When someone goes missing their friends and families are subject to an enormous amount of emotional turmoil.

“It’s often rubbing salt in the wound when those left behind discover they have a complicated web of financial and property matters to attempt to unravel in the missing person’s absence.

“This move will make it easier for these practical considerations to be taken into account and remove some of the burden and heartache such a situation can cause.”