There are many ways of taking advantage of an unsuspecting and trusting senior citizen. But probably one of the more heinous instances of elder abuse involves predatory marriage. Some people will stop at nothing to get to a senior citizen’s money – even feigning affection that could ultimately lead to marriage. Sadly, this practice is becoming more prevalent in Ontario and other parts of Canada.
As formal partners, spouses will use their status to bilk seniors out of money that is in joint accounts. They will also get their names on a matrimonial home and may even convince their senior spouses to cut people out of their wills. Many Ontario seniors may not be aware that any existing will they have can actually be revoked when they re-marry. They may not realize the need to fashion a new will.
The irony of the situation is that a person must have a high mental capacity when writing a will, but it can be much lower for a person to agree to marriage. The Succession Law Reform Act (SLRA) in Canada states that when a testator (person writing the will) marries, his or her will is revoked unless the will was written with the marriage in mind. The SLRA doesn’t protect people from being victimized by the marriage having taken place.
Elder abuse in Ontario can take many forms – from taking money from a senior to emotional and physical abuse to neglect and everything in between. Those who believe they have been victims of such abuse have the right to discuss their cases with a lawyer who may be able to provide guidance in the compensation process. Family members who believe their elderly loved ones have suffered abuse also have the right to speak with a lawyer.