If a person has disappeared and there is suspicion that this person is dead and the place and date of such death is unknown then a certificate of death cannot be issued. The place and date of death must be known as certificates are issued under the jurisdiction of where the person died. A coroner cannot become involved in such circumstances. The presumption in law that a person is dead arises when it is proved that: the person has not been heard of for seven years by persons who would be likely to have heard of him or her; and all appropriate inquiries have been made.
A person can apply to the High Court for a declaration that a person has died. The courts can make a declaration saying that a person is deceased which in turn may allow the other spouse to remarry even without a death certificate. However, as stated above, certain information is required in order for a death certificate to issue. Where persons have disappeared and cannot be traced, applications can be made to the courts for the purpose of distributing estates.