How do you declare someone legally dead?

Question Details:

My father-in-law left home due to mental illness about 20 years ago. We've had a private eye trace his addresses up until about 10 years ago but then the trail goes cold. We could not find any record of his death, incarceration, income, or residence past 2000. His wife wants to collect his SS benefits so she can retire and take care of our child. Would that be possible if we can have him declared legally dead? How would we go about doing that?

Answered 6 years ago| Contributor
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