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Wedding Predatory marriage: How vulnerable elderly people are being targeted for their money, and what the law says

11:15  08 october  2019
11:15  08 october  2019 Source:   inews.co.uk

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Solicitor, Sarah Young, says that predatory marriage is on the increase in the UK and more should be done to educate others and raise awareness of issue. One particular case of predatory marriage is that of Daphne Franks, who believes her mother Joan Blass was a victim. Joan Blass lived a happy

Ontario’s outdated estate and marriage capacity laws make widowed seniors an easy target for “ predatory marriage Family inheritances are destroyed when a vulnerable senior is tricked into late-life marriage , said A predatory bride or groom uses marital status to take money from joint bank accounts “ We ’ re seeing predatory marriage because more people are living longer on their own

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A rise of so-called ‘predatory marriages’ in the UK has sparked a call for vigilance among family members with vulnerable relatives.

A predatory marriage is defined as somebody coercing an elderly person (who may suffer from dementia or a similar illness that affects decision-making) into marriage.

Under English law, marriage overrides the instructions in a will. This means that if somebody persuades an elderly person to marry them, they are legally entitled to significant amounts of the deceased’s estate.

Marriage can make wills void

This can leave family members - who sometimes do not even know that the marriage has taken place - powerless to prevent the person who instigated the predatory marriage from controlling their deceased relative’s money and even their funeral.

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Predatory marriage is thought to be on the rise in Ontario as more seniors are living longer and on their own. Frail, vulnerable seniors who For seniors who are vulnerable to the province’s existing marriage laws , seeking a lawyer to ensure both benefactors and that the estate is protected is critical.

The Rise in " Predatory Marriages ". Predatory marriages are more than just a younger woman The elderly population in the United States is increasing due to the graying of the Baby Boom generation and If you suspect your parent or an elderly loved one is falling or has fallen prey to a manipulative

Solicitor, Sarah Young, says that predatory marriage is on the increase in the UK and more should be done to educate others and raise awareness of issue.

Young explained, “What seems to happen is you have an elderly person who lives alone in their own home and someone will effectively make a move. It could be a carer, a friend, or neighbour whereby the relationship may genuinely start with assistance but small behaviours gradually escalate over time.

“For example, borrowing money, taking gifts, or the transfer of property, and in some cases that can lead to the elderly person entering into a marriage without necessarily understanding.”

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Excluded from funeral arrangements

One particular case of predatory marriage is that of Daphne Franks, who believes her mother Joan Blass was a victim.

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Predatory lending refers to unethical practices conducted by lending organizations during a loan origination process that are unfair, deceptive, or fraudulent. While there are no legal definitions in the United States for predatory lending per se

More wealthy elderly people with heightened vulnerability are easier prey for the financial So concerned children may find their newly married parent’s will revoked without the parent being able to Such a situation is governed by Ontario’s law of intestacy. Upon the elderly parent’s death the

Joan Blass lived a happy life until her health deteriorated in her mid-80s when she was diagnosed with dementia. Luckily, Daphne lived next door and was able to provide support to her mother.

However, in 2011 a man nearly 25 years her mother’s junior struck up a surprisingly close friendship with her. The friend known as ‘Laddo’ suddenly assumed a significant role in her life and quickly positioned himself as a ‘carer’, complete with a key to her home.

Daphne was powerless to intervene and watched on as her vulnerable mother was left to live with a complete stranger.

‘Powerless to intervene’

When Joan died of cancer in 2016, Daphne was shocked to discover that her 91 year old mother had married 67 year old Laddo in a secret ceremony on October 26 2015.

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This meant that, under English law, Joan’s will was now void, and ‘Laddo’ was entitled to half of her estate, including her home, and had control of all funeral arrangements. Daphne has been unable to access her mother’s home since she died, and the predatory husband excluded the family from funeral arrangements.

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Predatory lenders typically target minorities, the poor, the elderly and the less educated. These lenders also target borrowers with credit problems or people who recently lost their jobs. Over the past several years, predatory lending practices have been prevalent in the area of home mortgages.

Federal law doesn’t explicitly give a definition of " predatory lending," and state laws describe predatory lending in different ways. Generally, predatory lending is a term typically used to describe unconscionable lending practices where a borrower is provided with an unfair loan.

Daphne said, “Mum always made it clear that when she died she wanted to be cremated. Yet, her husband laid her to rest in a cemetery without a headstone, just a bare patch of grass.”

Daphne took Laddo to court to challenge his right to control the funeral. However, the judge concluded that Joan was aware of what she was doing when she entered into the marriage and that Laddo loved and cared for her.

The threshold for having capacity to marry under English law is quite low. Previous cases state that a person need only have a ‘rudimentary’ understanding of the financial consequences.

Legal loophole

However, other cases set the precedent that a person must understand the fact that entering into marriage revokes their will.

Registrars - who are typically used to complete the marriage - are often not trained to understand capacity from a medical or legal perspective, and as there are often the only barrier to prevent those without capacity from marrying, predatory marriages can often take place.

The capacity for marriage is simply assumed, while the threshold to make or change a will is much higher - a medical professional is required to verify that a person has the capacity to change their will of their own volition.

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St John Ambulance is linked to ' predatory fundraising': Firm used by the charity targeted elderly for money and pocketed 45p out of every £1 donated. Fundraising firm Wesser International, which works with St John Ambulance, is under investigation for targeting vulnerable , elderly people .

Their schemes often target people who have small incomes but substantial equities in their homes. Products themselves are not predatory . Their advertisements promise lower monthly payments as a way out of debt, but don't tell potential borrowers that they will be paying more and longer.

The issue is set to be explored in an episode of Rip Off Britain on the BBC, which airs this evening (Mon 7 Oct).

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