A missing person is a person who has disappeared and whose status as alive or dead cannot be confirmed as their location and fate is not known. Laws related to missing persons are often complex, since in many jurisdictions, relatives and third parties may not deal with a person's assets until their death is considered proven by law and a formal death certificate issued. The situation, uncertainties, and lack of closure or a funeral resulting when a person goes missing may be extremely painful and long-lasting for family and friends.
A person may be missing due to their own decision, accident, crime, death in a location where they cannot be found, or many other reasons. In some countries, missing persons' photographs are posted on bulletin boards, milk cartons, postcards, and websites, to publicize their description.