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This Act is current to October 11, 2017
See the Tables of Legislative Changes for this Act’s legislative history, including any changes not in force.

Presumption of Death Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 444

Contents
1Definitions
2Repealed
3Presumption of death
4Duty of personal representative
5Status of property if deceased later found alive
6Status of property if deceased in fact dead
7Appeals

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"court" means the Supreme Court;

"interested person" means

(a) any person who is or would be affected by an order made under this Act,

(b) the next of kin of the person in respect of whom an order is made or for whom an order is applied, and

(c) a person who holds property of the person in respect of whom an order is made or for whom an order is applied.

Repealed

2  [Repealed 2009-13-256.]

Presumption of death

3  (1) If, on the application of an interested person under the Supreme Court Civil Rules, the court is satisfied that

(a) a person has been absent and not heard of or from by the applicant, or to the knowledge of the applicant by any other person, since a day named,

(b) the applicant has no reason to believe that the person is living, and

(c) reasonable grounds exist for supposing that the person is dead,

the court may make an order declaring that the person is presumed to be dead for all purposes, or for those purposes only as are specified in the order.

(2) An order made under subsection (1) must state the date on which the person is presumed to have died.

(3) Any interested person may, with leave of the court, apply to the court for an order to vary, amend, confirm or revoke an order made under subsection (1).

(4) An order, or a certified copy of an order, declaring that a person is presumed to be dead for all purposes or for the purposes specified in the order, is proof of death in all matters requiring proof of death for those purposes.

(5) The registrar of the court must forward to the registrar general under the Vital Statistics Act an order made under subsection (1) or (3) within 30 days of the entry of the order.

Duty of personal representative

4  If an order has been made declaring that a person is presumed to be dead for all purposes or for the purpose of distributing his or her estate, and the personal representative of the person presumed to be dead subsequently believes or there are reasonable grounds for the personal representative to believe that the person is not in fact dead, the personal representative must not deal after that with the estate or the remaining estate unless the presumption of death is confirmed by a further order made under section 3.

Status of property if deceased later found alive

5  (1) If a person who is presumed to be dead is, in fact, alive, any of his or her property that has been distributed in reliance on an order made under section 3, and not in contravention of section 4, is deemed to be a final distribution and to be the property of the person to whom it has been distributed as against the person presumed to be dead.

(2) Subject to subsection (1), if a person who is presumed to be dead is found by the court to be alive, the court may, on the application of any interested person, by order, give directions the court considers appropriate respecting the property of the person found to be alive and its preservation and return.

Status of property if deceased in fact dead

6  If a person who is presumed to be dead is, in fact, dead, any of his or her property that has been distributed in reliance on an order made under section 3 is deemed to be a final distribution and to be the property of the person to whom it has been distributed as against any person who would otherwise be entitled if the order made under section 3 had not been made.

Appeals

7  Any interested person may appeal an order made under this Act to the Court of Appeal.