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Lucan Case Shows The Importance Of A Death Certificate In Law

View profile for Sarah Finnigan
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More than 40 years after Lord Lucan disappeared the high court has cleared the way for his only son to inherit the earldom.

A presumption of death certificate was granted by Mrs Justice Asplin and a certificate was issued under the 2014 Presumption of Death Act.

The judge made the declaration on the basis that she was satisfied Lucan had not been known to be alive for a period of at least seven years. It can be revoked if Lucan reappears.

Private Client Solicitor, Sarah Finnigan, said:  “Having to wait 42 years for a death certificate is highly exceptional and despite the high level of interest in the case of Lord Lucan’s last known movements, the bludgeoning to death of the family’s nanny and the whiff of high society scandal, it highlights the importance of a death certificate.

“Indeed, in this country, you cannot arrange a funeral without a death having been ‘registered’ and the death certificate issued.  The funeral is often the first focus once a loved one has died, but thereafter no information about the affairs of someone who has died will be released unless you are able to produce a death certificate, which is proof of death,” said Sarah.

In this case Lucan’s son can now assume the family title as the eighth Earl of Lucan.

Presenting the death certificate to all organisations with whom your late loved one held assets is just one of the practical things that needs to be dealt with in the immediate aftermath of their death,” added Sarah. 

“All sorts of organisations may need to be informed of the death – banks, investment houses, the DWP, the Pension Service, HM Revenue & Customs, HM Land Registry, Pension providers - the list goes on.  One of the most important steps you can take is to involve a solicitor in this process. 

At a time when you are coping with the loss of a loved one Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers have a team dedicated to dealing with these practical estate administration matters for you – call 0161 785 3500 for advice

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers LLP or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.