Contact Us

Reforming marriage laws and procedures to protect people with dementia

A marriage will always annul a Will – so anyone who marries again would need to make a new Will, or everything will go to their spouse if they are the first to die.
Joan Blass was 91 with severe dementia and terminal cancer. After her death in March 2016, we found that a much younger man, age 68, had secretly married her five months previously. She never knew that she was married (see “Stories” section for full story). These events have had a devastating effect on our family both emotionally and financially. We were shocked by how few checks there were to stop this marriage taking place. We believe that there needs to be better protection against such predatory marriage to prevent this happening to anyone else.
Under British Law it is not possible to annul a marriage once one of the couple has died, unless the marriage is bigamous or incestuous. It is not possible to annul a marriage after one party has died if it was fraudulent.
Joan 2
We aim to...
  • Change the law such that a marriage does not automatically annul a Will
  • Create an offence of Predatory Marriage.
  • Publish Notices/Banns on the Internet.
  • Train Registrars to look for signs of insufficient mental capacity to marry.
  • Ensure Registrars will stop a marriage ceremony if there are any doubts.
  • Add "The marriage was fraudulent" to the permitted reasons to annul a marriage after one party has died.
The calling of the Banns dates back to the twelfth century, when everything was very local. They are just posted inside the register office. Why not publish them on the Internet, where anyone can find them?