According to art. 49 of the Civil Code, if a person is missing and there are indications that (s)he died, the person can be declared dead by court order at the request of any interested person, if at least 2 years have passed from the date of the latest information or clues indicating that (s)he was alive.
If the date of receiving the latest information or clues about the missing person can not be determined accurately, the 2 years period of time is calculated from the month in which the latest information or clues have been received, and in the case that the month can not be established either, at the end of the calendar year.
The person who disappeared in special circumstances, such as natural disasters or acts of war or in other similar circumstances, circumstances which justify the assumption of death, can be declared dead if at least 6 months have passed from the date of the circumstances in which the disappearance occured. When it is certain that death has occurred, although the body can not be found or identified, death can be declared by court order, without waiting for the fulfillment of any term from extinction. In this case, the application may be filed as soon as the fact of death became known, based on the competend authorities’ research.
The procedure for declaring death is regulated by the Civil Procedure Code, in art. 944-951.
It is useful to know that the application for a declaration of death of a person is filed to the court competent in the jurisdiction where the person’s last known address is.
According to art. 945, after the notification of the court, the President will request the city hall and the police bodies in whose jurisdiction the person’s last known address is to collect the relevant information.
The President will demand the display of the application to the last known address of the missing, the mayor's office and the seat of the court, as well as the publication of an announcement regarding the opening of the declaration of death in a newspaper of wide circulation, and anyone who has information regarding the missing person will be invited to communicate it.
If the person whose declaration of death is requested owns immovable property, the President shall request, ex officio, noting the application emand in the Land Registry and its registration in the trade register, if (s)he is a professional.
After the passing of a period of 2 months from the publishing and the display of the application, and after receiving the investigation results, the court will set a hearing date. The person will be summoned to the last known address and the citation will be published in a newspaper of wide circulation.
The judgment for the declaration of death will be displayed for two months at the seat of the court and at the city hall. The judgement will also be communicated to the guardianship court in order to appoint a trustee, if needed, and to the local Public Community service for people records, in order to record the death.
The dead is considered as having died at the date on which the final decision established it to be that of death.
It is useful to know that the disappeared is believed to be alive, if no final decision for the declaration of death has intervened.
In this case, the nullity of the decision declaring death will take into effect, and the request for the invalidity of the declaratory judgment of death in case the person is alive must be made to the court which delivered the judgment.
If you want more information on the procedure for the declaration of death according to the provisions of the Romanian legislation, do not hesitate to contact one of our attorneys specialized in this legal area, who will provide full information and legal, competent advice, as well as representation before the authorities, when necessary.