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  • Writer's pictureEmma Aslett

Wills & Probate | Predatory Marriages and Wills

Updated: Aug 8, 2023

Predatory marriage is not a legal concept, i.e. there is no common law or statutory definition, but it refers to a situation where a vulnerable individual (i.e. they could be vulnerable due to age or an impairment) is pressured into marriage for financial exploitation.

At present, if you prepare a Will, after marriage that Will becomes invalid. The person will then need to prepare a further Will, otherwise, the rules of intestacy will decide how that person’s assets are divided.

There are now questions about whether a Will should be revoked (become invalid) upon marriage, due to vulnerable people being abused.

Predatory Marriage UK is aiming to reform laws and procedures surrounding marriage to protect vulnerable people, particularly those with dementia. They seek to change the law to say that a Will is not revoked upon marriage and that there is an offence of predatory marriage.

STEP produced a blog which says:

“Practitioners, families, and friends of victims need to be alert to the possibility of predatory marriage and financial abuse. They should not be lulled into a false sense of security and think that the victim ‘could never get married because they lack the capacity to marry’. The capacity to marry is a relatively low threshold. As the case of Joan Blass shows, lack of capacity is not always identified by wedding registrars. Be vigilant, be alert.”

In July 2022, the Law Commission’s Weddings Report proposed some of the changes that Predatory Marriage UK is seeking. There is now also a review in September 2023 regarding section 18 of the Wills Act 1837 regarding whether marriage should revoke a Will.

0207 183 4595

The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute professional advice and you should take full and comprehensive legal, accountancy or financial advice as appropriate on your individual circumstances by a fully qualified Solicitor, Accountant or Financial Advisor/Mortgage Broker before you embark on any course of action.


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