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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Predatory marriages "increasingly common problem" in Ontario

I have recently read an interesting article by Toronto lawyers Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag in which they discuss predatory marriages.  Click here to read it. Apparently some crooks have figured out that it's easier to marry an elderly person to get access to their estate than it is to persuade them to make a new will in their favour. This is now apparently an activity that is increasing.

In most Canadian provinces, a will that is in place is revoked when the person whose will it is gets married. Therefore even if the new predatory spouse doesn't persuade his or her new spouse to make a new will, they will still come out on top. All provinces give a preferential share of an estate to the spouse of the deceased when someone dies without a will. And if the deceased had no children, the spouse gets everything.

I can't really see an answer to this issue. I'm sure any governmental attempt to control who can marry whom would amount to a grievous infringement of personal freedom. This leaves it up to the family to try to look after a vulnerable senior, but I expect that would have limited success. For one thing, we all know what  it's like to try to talk someone out of something they have decided to do. That's assuming you even know about it in time; anyone can marry quickly and quietly without telling their relatives in advance. And of course, there are plenty of vulnerable seniors who don't have anyone around to protect them.

This seems like a crime whose time has come.


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