Whenever the owner of such property shall have been absent from the county for the
space of five years and his or her whereabouts are unknown and cannot with reasonable
diligence be ascertained, his or her presumptive heirs at law may apply to the court
for an order of provisional distribution of such property, and to be let into provisional
possession thereof: PROVIDED, That such provisional distribution may be made at any
time prior to the expiration of five years, when it shall be made to appear to the
satisfaction of the court that there are strong presumptions that the absentee is
dead; and in determining the question of presumptive death, the court shall take
into consideration the habits of the absentee, the motives of and the circumstances
surrounding the absence, and the reasons which may have prevented the absentee from
being heard of.
Notice of hearing upon application for provisional distribution shall be published
in like manner as notices for the appointment of trustees are published.
If the absentee left a will in the possession of any person such person shall present
such will at the time of hearing of the application for provisional distribution and
if it shall be made to appear to the court that the absentee has left a will and the
person in possession thereof shall fail to present it, a citation shall issue requiring
him or her so to do, and such will shall be opened, read, proven, filed, and recorded
in the case, as are the wills of decedents.
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