12400. Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, as used
in this part, "missing person" means a person who is presumed to be
dead under Section 12401.
12401. In proceedings under this part, a person who has not been
seen or heard from for a continuous period of five years by those who
are likely to have seen or heard from that person, and whose absence
is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search or inquiry, is
presumed to be dead. The person's death is presumed to have occurred
at the end of the period unless there is sufficient evidence to
establish that death occurred earlier.
12402. Subject to the provisions of this part, the estate of a
missing person may be administered in the manner provided generally
for the administration of estates of deceased persons.
12403. (a) If the missing person was a resident of this state when
last seen or heard from, the superior court of the county of the
person's last known place of residence has jurisdiction for the
purposes of this part.
(b) If the missing person was a nonresident of this state when
last seen or heard from, the superior court of a county where real
property of the missing person is located, or of a county where
personal property is located if the missing person has no real
property in this state, has jurisdiction for the purposes of this
12404. (a) A petition may be filed in the court having jurisdiction
under Section 12403 for the administration of the estate of a
(b) The petition may be filed by any person who may be appointed
as a personal representative, other than a person described in
subdivision (r) of Section 8461.
(c) In addition to the matters otherwise required in a petition
for administration of the estate, the petition shall state all of the
(1) The last known place of residence and the last known address
of the missing person.
(2) The time and circumstances when the missing person was last
seen or heard from.
(3) That the missing person has not been seen or heard from for a
continuous period of five years by the persons likely to have seen or
heard from the missing person (naming them and their relationship to
the missing person) and that the whereabouts of the missing person
is unknown to those persons and to the petitioner.
(4) A description of the search or the inquiry made concerning the
whereabouts of the missing person.
12405. Notice of hearing shall be served and published, and proof
made, in the same manner as in proceedings for administration of the
estate of a decedent, except that notice of hearing on the petition
shall also be sent by registered mail to the missing person at his or
her last known address.
12406. (a) At the hearing, the court shall determine whether the
alleged missing person is a person who is presumed to be dead under
Section 12401. The court may receive evidence and consider the
affidavits and depositions of persons likely to have seen or heard
from or know the whereabouts of the alleged missing person.
(b) If the court is not satisfied that a diligent search or
inquiry has been made for the missing person, the court may order the
petitioner to conduct a diligent search or inquiry and to report the
results. The court may order the search or inquiry to be made in any
manner that the court determines to be advisable, including any or
all of the following methods:
(1) Inserting in one or more suitable newspapers or other
periodicals a notice requesting information from any person having
knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing person.
(2) Notifying law enforcement officials and public welfare
agencies in appropriate locations of the disappearance of the missing
(3) Engaging the services of an investigator.
(c) The costs of a search ordered by the court pursuant to
subdivision (b) shall be paid by the estate of the missing person,
but if there is no administration, the court in its discretion may
order the petitioner to pay the costs.
12407. (a) If the court finds that the alleged missing person is a
person presumed to be dead under Section 12401, the court shall do
both of the following:
(1) Appoint a personal representative for the estate of the
missing person in the manner provided for the estates of deceased
(2) Determine the date of the missing person's death.
(b) The personal representative shall administer the estate of the
missing person in the same general manner and method of procedure,
and with the same force and effect, as provided for the
administration of the estates of deceased persons, except as
otherwise provided in this part.
12408. (a) If the missing person reappears:
(1) The missing person may recover property of the missing person'
s estate in the possession of the personal representative, less fees,
costs, and expenses thus far incurred.
(2) The missing person may recover from distributees any property
of the missing person's estate that is in their possession, or the
value of distributions received by them, to the extent that recovery
from distributees is equitable in view of all the circumstances, but
an action under this paragraph is forever barred five years after the
time the distribution was made.
(b) The remedies available to the missing person under subdivision
(a) are exclusive, except for any remedy the missing person may have
by reason of fraud or intentional wrongdoing.
(c) Except as provided in subdivisions (a) and (b), the order for
final distribution, when it becomes final, is conclusive as to the
rights of the missing person, the rights of the beneficiaries of the
missing person, and the rights of all other persons interested in the
(d) If a dispute arises as to the identity of a person claiming to
be a reappearing missing person, the person making the claim or any
other interested person may file a petition under Section 11700,
notwithstanding the limitations of time prescribed in Section 11700,
for the determination of the identity of the person claiming to be
the reappearing missing person.