Dementia patients and the risk of Predatory Marriage

A ‘predatory marriage’ is one where the vulnerability of a person is exploited by someone inducing them to marry.  The classic example is an older person with dementia who is taken advantage of by someone who is much younger than them. The relationship, which may be kept secret, involves exploitation for financial or other gain. Of particular concern when such a marriage takes place is the fact that it revokes a will.

After the death of her mother, Joan in March 2016, Daphne Franks found that a much younger man, age 68, had secretly married her mother five months previously. Joan was 91 with severe dementia and terminal cancer. Her will, leaving her estate to Daphne and her brother was revoked by her marriage and Joan’s spouse inherited it all under the intestacy rules.

Joan’s MP, Fabian Hamilton introduced the Marriage and Civil Partnership Consent Bill under the 10 Minute Rule in Parliament on 21 November 2018. The current position is that this legislation will take a lot of time and effort before it can become law.

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