Despite many 'possible' sightings since his disappearance in 1974, Lord Lucan has now been declared officially dead with the issue of a death certificate.  This enables his son to assume the titles of Lord Lucan and the eighth Earl of Lucan.  

The Presumption of Death Act 2013 permits 'any person' to apply for a declaration that someone is dead where they have 'not been known to be alive for a period of at least 7 years'.  The same is true where the person is 'thought to have died'.  The person making the application must be able to show they have sufficient interest in the determination however, or the Court can refuse to deal with it.

The Act aims to simplify the process for grieving families where a loved one disappears and evidence strongly suggests they have died.  It helps to give closure which is often extremely important to individuals. In this case Lord Lucan's son has used it to ensure he is able to inherit his father's title, which is important to his family, however tainted he accepts others may view it to be.