We are delighted to confirm that partner, Donna Holmes, has been appointed to the Panel of Guardians for Missing Persons Affairs from 1 February 2020.

The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 came into force in England and Wales on 31 July 2019 creating a new legal representative role of Guardian to represent the affairs of somebody who has gone missing. The Act enables a court-appointed person – the Guardian – to act in the best interests of the missing person after their absence from their life for 90 days.

This piece of legislation is of great importance to families who have a missing relative.  Previously, it was not possible to administer the financial affairs of somebody who had gone missing for the period from the date they went missing until they had been missing for seven years, at which point they could be presumed dead.

This left families unable to sell properties proactively, requiring mortgage repossession in some cases, or access bank accounts for their missing loved ones, either dissipating assets due to ongoing standing orders remaining in place, for example, or leaving loved ones such as spouses and children without access to vital financial resources.

With the introduction of the new Act, the court has also recognised that there will be occasions where an independent professional needs to be appointed to represent the affairs of a missing person.  The Office of the Public Guardian has, therefore, opened a panel of guardians who can administer the affairs of those missing where such a professional appointment is required.

Donna leads the personal planning team at Anthony Collins Solicitors and is an Office of the Public Guardian Panel Deputy and STEP member, with wide experience of mental capacity property and affairs matters - appointment of a deputy, assisting lay deputies, deputyship administration and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Should you have any queries with regards to the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 or need to make an application to court should you have a missing loved one whose financial affairs need to be dealt with either by yourself or by an independent professional, please contact Donna