Rule 5.171. Evidence of Death

In a proceeding under these rules, the following shall apply:

(a) Death Certificate. An authenticated copy of a death certificate issued by an official or agency of the place where the death purportedly occurred or by an official or agency of the United States is prima facie proof of the fact, place, date, and time of death and the identity of the decedent.

(b) Other Records. A copy of any record or report of a governmental agency, domestic or foreign, that a person is dead, alive, missing, detained, or, from the facts related, presumed dead is prima facie evidence of the status, dates, circumstances, and places disclosed by the record or report.

(c) Extended Absence. A person who is absent from the place of that person’s last known domicile for a continuous period of 5 years and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search and inquiry is presumed dead. The person’s death is presumed to have occurred at the end of the period unless there is evidence establishing that death occurred earlier.