Under Florida law, “a person who is absent from the place of his or her last known domicile for a continuous period of 5 years and whose absence is not satisfactorily explained after diligent search and inquiry is presumed to be 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. Evidence showing that the absent person was exposed to a specific peril of death may be a sufficient basis for the court determining at any time after such exposure that he or she died less than 5 years after the date on which his or her absence commenced. ” F.S. 731.103 (3)
Florida law does not preclude the establishment of death by direct or circumstantial evidence prior to 5-years.
A petition for this determination shall be filed in the county in Florida where the decedent maintained his or her domicile or in any county of this state if the decedent was not a resident of Florida at the time his or her absence commenced. Florida Statute Section 382.012 sets forth the requirements for a court of competent jurisdiction to find that a death has occurred when there is nobody recovered and order the issuance of a “presumptive death certificate.”