The act allows close relatives of people who go missing to continue to administer their financial affairs, including their mortgage, and has been welcomed by lender trade body, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML), which described the law as ‘great news’.
It also has the support of the charity, Missing People, and will help lenders and their customers by providing a practical way of helping people who go missing as well as their families.
More than 80,000 adults are reported missing every year in Britain, and as many as 1,500 are not heard from for more than 12 months. Over and above the obvious worry this causes, families are often left with no means of administering the financial affairs of a missing person.
Financial affairs left in limbo
The new act fills this unwelcome gap by creating a new form of legal guardianship. Confidentiality rules and other legal obligations often leave the financial affairs of a missing person in limbo. But the act will allow an appointed guardian to run the financial affairs in the best interests of the missing person in their absence. It will help lenders and relatives to make pragmatic arrangements that are currently impossible.
The CML said it will work closely with government to help ensure the new regulations work for lenders and their customers.