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Tuesday, September 02, 2014
Saskatchewan Justice

The Missing Persons and Presumption of Death Act updates Saskatchewan's missing persons property legislation by repealing The Absentee Act, and creates presumption of death provisions.

A missing person is a person who has been missing for 3 months or who has been missing for less than 3 months where a court has made an order that the person is missing.

A family member, other interested person, or the Public Guardian and Trustee may apply to the Court of Queen's Bench for an order declaring a person as missing and for appointment of a property guardian.

A copy of every application must be given to the Public Guardian and Trustee, the nearest relatives as set out in the Act, and any other person the Court considers necessary. Any of these persons may file a statement of objection with the Court if they oppose the application.

If satisfied with the information provided, the Court may declare the person who is the subject of the application a missing person and appoint the applicant, or any other person the Court considers appropriate, as the property guardian for the estate of the missing person. The Court may impose any terms and conditions it considers appropriate on a property guardian.

At the time of the application or within 6 months after being appointed, the property guardian must provide the Court and the Public Guardian and Trustee with an inventory of the missing person's estate. The Public Guardian and Trustee may carry out an investigation to ensure the accuracy of the inventory.

A property guardian has the power to do anything respecting the estate of the missing person except:

  • make a will;
  • change an election or designation made by the missing person; or
  • sell, lease or dispose of the missing person's property unless authorized by the Court.

The property guardian may be removed by the Court on application if he or she is no longer able to fulfill the requirements of the Act.

The persons authorized to apply for the order declaring a person to be missing may apply for an order declaring that the missing person is presumed to be dead.

A copy of the application must be given to interested parties as listed in the Act. Any person may then file a statement of objection with the Court if they oppose the application.

The Court may make a declaration of presumption of death if it is satisfied that:

  • the person has been absent and not been heard from, or by, since a day named in the application;
  • there is no reason to believe the person is living; and
  • reasonable grounds exist to suppose he or she is dead.

The Court may make an order that an individual is presumed dead for all purposes or for only specified purposes. In either case, the Act does not apply to The Marriage Act, 1995 or The Saskatchewan Insurance Act.

A property guardian may apply to the Court for advice or directions at any time. Every property guardian is a trustee and must provide an annual accounting to the Court and the Public Guardian and Trustee and, within 6 months after an order of presumption of death is made, a final accounting.

If a person presumed to be dead is later found to be alive, the Court may then make an order returning the property or provide any other direction regarding the property.



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