Real Estate of a Presumed Decedent

Less Than Seven (7) Years


When a person domiciled or having property in the Commonwealth disappears and is absent from his or her last known place of residence for a period of one (1) year without explanation being heard, the Court of the county where the property is located may, upon petition and after published notice, appoint a trustee to take care of the estate. Such a trustee must give bond and must protect and maintain the property, although, with the approval of the Court, the income from the property and, if needed, the property itself may be used for the support of anyone whom the absentee would be under a legal duty to support. See PEF Code §§5701-5705.

2.   After Seven (7) Years
    If a person is absent for seven (7) years without explanation, upon the petition of any party in interest and after published notice, the Court may make a finding and decree that the absentee is dead. After the entry of such a decree, the property of the absentee is administered by a personal representative the same as in the case of any other decedent. However, the personal representative shall make no distribution of such property to the persons entitled thereto by will or by intestacy, nor shall such persons acquire indefeasible title thereto, except under decree of Court. In such cases the Court will require a refunding bond executed by each distributee and filed with the Clerk. See PEF Code §5703. See also Remick, Chapter 9 for forms of various petitions.

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