It isn't possible to conclude that missing NSW boy William Tyrrell is dead based on the current evidence, a court has heard.

A directions hearing was held at Glebe Coroner's Court today ahead of an inquest into the 3-year-old's disappearance and suspected death more than four years ago.

William vanished while playing in his grandmother's front yard at Kendall, on NSW's mid-north coast, in September 2014.

The inquest will begin in Sydney in March and will run for a week before deputy state coroner Harriet Grahame, before resuming in August.


Counsel assisting the coroner, Gerard Craddock SC, told Wednesday's hearing it wasn't possible — at present — to conclude William was dead.

"The police investigation into his disappearance is ongoing and police are following active leads at present," Craddock said.

He said William the fact that William was in foster care, combined with his disappearance and the circumstances of his disappearance, meant there was jurisdiction to hold an inquest.

William's foster parents, who attended the hearing, made no comment as they left the court.

William has never been found and no one has been charged over his disappearance. There is no suggestion any member of his foster or biological family had anything to do with his disappearance.

- With wire