Did you know that getting married invalidates your Will?
or at the very least, you will need a higher level of mental capacity to make a Will than to Marry!
In January 2018 a temporary court injunction prevented an elderly man from marrying his long term partner of more than 20 years.
If the wedding had gone ahead then at his death most of his wealth would have gone to the partner.
In 2013 the man in his mid-eighties, had drawn up a Will in 2013, leaving £300,000, most of his pension and the right to live in his home for two years to his girlfriend, who was in her seventies. The daughters would share the rest of his £1.7 million estate and this was done before he developed Alzheimer’s.
He now wished to marry the girlfriend which would automatically destroy his 2013 Will. Usually the solution is to make a new Will, ideally before marriage stating that he was contemplating marriage to the girlfriend. However, the level of capacity required to make a Will is higher than that required to marry! In theory he could marry with dementia but not make a new Will. The medical advice was that he had capacity to marry; but not to make a new Will.
Therefore a Catch 22.
If the marriage went ahead, then without a new Will his new wife would have inherited £1million at his death and his daughters £250,000 each.
In law the decision to marry is not considered a complex decision, just a marriage contract between two people. All the person has to understand is that they are getting married to the person they wish to marry and that they are not already married.
To make a Will a person needs to understand what they own, who they should consider in their Will and what the effects will be.
In the temporary ruling to prevent the marriage, the judge expressed the hope that the parties “find a way of moving forward together after this very bitter dispute”. The father, he added, “suffers from a degenerative disease and he is going to need the help of all those love him in the very near future”.