Terms Used In Florida Statutes 731.103

  • Circumstantial evidence: All evidence except eyewitness testimony.
  • Decedent: A deceased person.
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • person: includes individuals, children, firms, associations, joint adventures, partnerships, estates, trusts, business trusts, syndicates, fiduciaries, corporations, and all other groups or combinations. See Florida Statutes 88.6011
In proceedings under this code and under chapter 736, the following additional rules relating to determination of death and status are applicable:

(1) An authenticated copy of a death certificate issued by an official or agency of the place where the death purportedly occurred is prima facie proof of the fact, place, date, and time of death and the identity of the decedent.
(2) A copy of any record or report of a governmental agency, domestic or foreign, that a person is alive, missing, detained, or, from the facts related, presumed dead is prima facie evidence of the status and of the dates, circumstances, and places disclosed by the record or report.
(3) 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. 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.
(4) This section does not preclude the establishment of death by direct or circumstantial evidence prior to expiration of the 5-year time period set forth in subsection (3).