Judge tells man that although he is alive, he is legally dead!


And yes, you are thinking exactly what I am – “Only in America!”

Author: Jason Williams
Reading time: 2 minutes

This article is 8 years old.

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Every now and again a legal decision is so surprising that it is hard to believe it came from a sane source!  This is a recent case from Ohio, America.  

In 1986 and after he “did a runner” – suddenly leaving his job, his wife and his children (and lots of debt) one Donald Miller’s long term disappearance meant that he was declared legally dead some 8 years later.

Almost 20 years on and with a change of mind he decided to return to Ohio.  However, the law there states that it is not possible to overturn a declaration of death more than 3 years after it is made.  Mr Miller applied to have the declaration of his death reversed “out of time”, but the Court ruled that it simply had to abide by the law and refused to declare him alive again!

And so the late (20 years late it seems!) Mr Miller is, in the eyes of the law dead – and presumably he will remain so unless and until the law in Ohio is changed. It raises the interesting question about whether his abandoned wife could now poison him with impunity.

Wouldn’t you want to be there when he walks into his insurance company’s office and asks for his death insurance payment to be made out in his own name!

And yes, you are thinking exactly what I am – “Only in America!”

Jason Williams

Legal Advisor

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