Predatory marriage

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Predatory marriage is the practice of marrying an elderly person exclusively for the purpose of gaining access to their estate upon their death.[1] While the requirements for mental capacity to make a valid will are high, in most jurisdictions the requirements for entering into a valid marriage are much lower; even a person suffering dementia may enter into marriage. In many jurisdictions, a marriage arrangement will invalidate any previous will left by the person, resulting in the spouse inheriting the estate.[1]

In the United Kingdom a campaign[2] was started to change laws and procedures around marriage to reduce this practice, supported by lawyer Sarah Young[3] of Ridley and Hall[4][5]. The local MP, Fabian Hamilton MP, introduced a bill in Parliament during 2018 entitled the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Consent) Bill[6], to establish that marriage should no longer always revoke a previous will and have introduced other protections against predatory marriage.[7] The bill was passed but ran out of parliamentary time, but work is continuing.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b What You Need To Know About Predatory Marriages, Huffington Post Canada, 30 May 2017
  2. ^ "Justice for Joan || Home". Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  3. ^ "Sarah Young". Ridley & Hall Solicitors | Huddersfield | Leeds | Pontefract | West Yorkshire. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  4. ^ "Predatory Marriages; Elder Financial Abuse". Ridley & Hall Solicitors | Huddersfield | Leeds | Pontefract | West Yorkshire. 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  5. ^ "Predatory Marriage – Campaign for Change in the Law". Ridley & Hall Solicitors | Huddersfield | Leeds | Pontefract | West Yorkshire. 2018-11-21. Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  6. ^ "Marriage and Civil Partnership (Consent) - Hansard". Retrieved 2020-03-21.
  7. ^ World News Empire, MP calls for 'predatory marriage' law change published 21 November 2018, accessed 31 October 2019