Compliance Question of the Week
January 29, 2013
January 29, 2013
We have a member that has been missing for a long time. No one has been able to locate him, and now his family wants to close his accounts. What should we do?
Each state has its own laws as to when a missing person is declared legally deceased. Most of the laws require that there be a sufficient attempt to locate the individual, and if no one is able to do so after a set amount of time, the individual can be declared legally deceased.
In Washington, the individual must be missing for at least seven years. The absence must be unexplained and a diligent search should have been conducted. The relatives of the missing person will need to go to court and petition the court to declare the individual legally deceased. If the petition is accepted, the court will issue a court declaration of death, which is equivalent to a death certificate. Once the relative or relatives receive this, they can begin filing the necessary paperwork to handle the estate and close the accounts.
In Oregon, the law is a bit more difficult. If the individual is missing for at least one year and cannot be declared deceased solely due to the fact that the body cannot be located or identified, then an individual can petition the court to declare the individual deceased. If this is not the case, then the individual must be missing for at least five years, and the petitioner must have reason to believe and must in fact believe that the individual is deceased. If the petition is accepted, the court will again issue a court declaration of death, and the relatives will be able to move forward.
In both states, the credit union should handle the account of the deceased member as they would the account of any other deceased member.
Questions? Contact the Compliance Hotline: 1.800.546.4465, firstname.lastname@example.org.