A decision on whether to grant a death certificate for Lord Lucan will be taken by a High Court judge in the spring.
Today, senior official Master Teverson said that the case should be heard between the beginning of February and the end of March.
The missing peer's only son, George Bingham, has applied underthe Presumption of Death Act, which came into effect a year ago, so he can inherit the title as 8th Earl.
Lord Lucan vanished after Sandra Rivett, nanny to his three children, was found murdered at the family home at 46 Lower Belgrave Street, central London, on November 7 1974.
Master Teverson also gave permission for Miss Rivett's son Neil Berriman to intervene in the case.
Lord Bingham attended the brief hearing and said afterwards that the time for comment was when the case returned to court.