It seems that Louann Bowers (whom I wrote about earlier) was declared legally dead in 2004, eleven years after her 1993 disappearance. Yet the woman is alive (if not well), and if she overturns her death decree she could claim some inheritance from her dead grandmother that was distributed among her family in 2008. (Her share comes to over $100,000.) I’ve always wondered what happens if a person is declared dead and later turn up alive and kicking.
It usually takes several years before an MP can be declared dead, but there are exceptions, as the article notes. The September 11 terrorist attacks being one. Also, if the death is witnessed — like, if the person fell into a river and was swept away and the body was never found. It’s my understanding that in most states, if someone wants to have an MP declared dead before 7 years have passed, they have to present compelling evidence that the MP is dead. But once 7 years have gone by, the burden of proof swings the other way — to prevent a death declaration, someone will have to present compelling evidence that the MP is NOT dead. I’m not 100% sure on this though, not being a probate lawyer.