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The rise of ‘predatory marriages’

Date:29 MAR 2019
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Senior Associate Solicitor
Trainee Solicitor

Ethan Axelrod and Hayley Trim of Irwin Mitchell look at how vulnerable parents and a legal loophole are being exploited to rob families of their inheritance.

Having a parent or family member who suffers from dementia is a challenging and often upsetting situation. Those close to the elderly person have to worry about how they will cope with daily life and how to care for them without compromising their independence. However an unscrupulous younger opportunist managing to marry their vulnerable loved one - possibly in secret and despite them seemingly having lost capacity - is a prospect unlikely to even occur to family members.

However such ‘predatory marriages’ appear to be on the rise. Whilst it is worrying enough that such marriages can even take place their consequences after the vulnerable person dies are also deeply concerning. Under English law marriage automatically invalidates a will. This means that where a ‘predatory marriage’ has taken place any previous will that the person suffering from dementia had carefully prepared in order to leave their assets to their family will no longer apply.

Instead their estate will be distributed under the...

Read the full article here.