What factors are considered in determining whether a person with severe depression should be found dead?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from Puffer v. The Public Guardian and Trustee, 2012 ONSC 3579 (CanLII):

In Poole v. Poole, supra, the court considered "whether severe depression and risk of suicide... constitutes circumstances of peril" (see: Poole v. Poole, supra at para. 5). In that case: • the severe depression of the individual; • the fact that, in the past, he had tried to commit suicide; • the fact that his psychiatrist felt he was at risk of harming himself; and, • that he had told his psychiatrist that the next time he tried to commit suicide he would do it right and that nobody would find him; and, • finally, the fact that he left his affairs in order, with the suicide note all served to contribute to the conclusion that the man was at peril and led the judge to declare that he died on the date he disappeared.

Interestingly, in discussing examples of situations where it would be clear that a person was at peril, the judge referred to a person who disappears while out on a boat and only the empty boat returns (see: Poole v. Poole, supra, at para. 5).

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