Daughter loses case against Alzheimer's father's remarriage
In Re DMM, HHJ Nicholas R Marston ruled that a retired 80-year-old insurance broker can marry his partner of 20 years, despite one of his three daughters took the elderly father to the High Court to stop the marriage taking place.
In 2013, the man had set up a will containing £300,000, his pension and the right to live for two years in his house for his fiancée, whilst his daughters would receive £1.7million of his estate. Due to suffering from Alzheimer’s, his capability would not allow him to create another will and would revoke the previous will if he married his fiancée.
The daughter had contacted an independent mental capacity assessor who stated that her father lacked the capacity to know how to make a new will and to also the implications of marriage.
However, a court appointed psychiatrist noted that although the father did not have the capability to form a new will, he had the capacity to marry his fiancée. The injunction to stop the father from marrying his fiancée was initially granted in June 2017 and ordered the case to be transferred the case to the Courts of Protection.
Last week, HHJ Nicholas R Marston ruled that the father had the capacity to marry his fiancée.
The daughter wanted to appeal this decision and asked for her father to be re-interviewed rigorously, claiming he was under the influence of his fiancée and the psychiatrist. HHJ Nicholas R Marston threw out this claim and refused the appeal.
It is extremely important that clients are advised that if they divorce a will needs to be made or an old will amended.
In the event of a remarriage, clients need to be aware that an old will could be invalidated by remarriage. Each case is assessed on its own merits, but the Judge here is sounding a warning. It becomes more important that alongside a will, clients are advised to consider their mental and physical capacity when not only making a will, but upon a remarriage.
Proceedings in the High Court are fraught with difficulties, not only costs and delay but also the emotional impact on family members.
If you are at all concerned or need further advice, please get in touch.