Property cannot exist in limbo forever when a person is missing and sometimes a family has to go to court to settle issues as ABC 17 News reports in "Family of missing man files petition to establish presumption of death."
Charlie Bell of Missouri disappeared in 2011. He was last seen riding his motorcycle. The police believe he was murdered based on witness testimony, but Bell's body has never been found to confirm it.
His family is now asking a court to issue an order presuming that Bell passed away. If granted, the order would allow Bell's estate to be administered.
Every state has a similar procedure in place for these types of cases.
When a person has been missing for a certain length of time, which varies from state to state, a court upon application can issue an order presuming death and allowing the administration of the estate.
Reference: ABC 17 News (Sept. 22, 2016) "Family of missing man files petition to establish presumption of death."