What is the Summary of Predatory Marriage?

Predatory marriage is an escalating issue affecting the most vulnerable individuals in society, particularly the older generation. It is crucial to understand what a predatory marriage is to safeguard oneself and loved ones.

What is Predatory Marriage?

Predatory marriage typically refers to a marital situation where one individual exploits another person’s vulnerability due to diminished capacity, such as dementia or advanced age. The predatory spouse, through manipulation and undue influence, often gains control of the victim spouse’s financial assets and estate.

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Legal Implication

One important aspect of predatory marriage is the associated legal implication. Notably, marriage contractually revokes any pre-existing wills, which may subsequently lead to monetary or property benefits for the predatory spouse upon the victim’s death, following the rules of intestacy.

  • The surviving spouse receives all personal property belonging to the deceased.
  • If the estate’s worth is less than £270,000, it entirely goes to the surviving spouse.
  • If the estate is worth more than £270,000, the surviving spouse receives the first £270,000 of the estate and half of the remaining estate if there are surviving children.

Legal Challenges

Currently, the courts have found the mental capacity required to enter into a marriage contract to be relatively low. Consequently, proving that a marriage is predatory can be challenging. Even with laws criminalizing forced marriages, convictions for predatory marriages remain minimal due to problems in gathering sufficient evidence.

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How to Protect Against Predatory Marriages?

Prevention mechanisms against predatory marriages include added scrutiny of new relationships involving vulnerable elders, especially when the new companion moves in as a caregiver:

  • Individuals should seek legal advice when starting a live-in care arrangement.
  • Keeping local registry offices alerted for potential predatory marriage.
  • Reporting concerns about a new lodger in a vulnerable person’s property to the local authority immediately.


It is essential to be vigilant and proactive in recognizing and preventing predatory marriages to protect the vulnerable individuals in our lives. Awareness, legal advice, and monitoring are key in ensuring that the elderly are not exploited through predatory marriages. Always remember that knowledge is the best defense.

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