The Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017 has received Royal Assent, bringing the families of missing persons one step closer to achieving control over the missing person's financial affairs.

The Act which is expected to come into force in 2018 will allow the Court to appoint a guardian to be responsible for the missing person's assets.

Families of missing people can face financial difficulties as they can't access the person's bank accounts or deal with their property, this can cause problems for spouses trying to deal with the family home or other assets.  

Previously the missing person had to be 'presumed dead' before their family could apply to deal with assets, this change will allow the Court to make a decision 90 days after the person first went missing or even earlier if an urgent decision needs to be made.

When the procedure comes into effect it should reduce the practical and financial difficulties for families when a relative is missing.

The charity Missing People offers emotional support and practical advice to the friends and family left behind during a disappearance.